Character Creation: How does Dark Souls III Stack Up?

Creating your character is the first step in many celebrated role-playing games, and in the video game realm, the opportunity to create a visual representation of your character is an exciting prospect for many of us.

The Dark Souls series of games has always provided in-depth character appearance customization options, but just how deep does the latest game Dark Souls III get? More specifically, can you make a character that looks like you?

An Introduction to Dark Souls

The popular series created by Japanese developers From Software takes place across a variety of dream-like dark fantasy realms where you, the Chosen Undead, must embark on an epic quest to save a dying world... or perhaps bring it to a close.

Much of the world's lore is lost, and hinted at in items you find, or hidden in the minds of the remaining inhabitants. As the player, you can pick up bits and pieces of this lore and craft the details in your own mind, making the journey a very personal experience.

Character Creators of the Past

The Dark Souls series offers the standard selection of options such as name, sex, and character class. It also introduces ethnicity in an interesting way by providing appearance templates associated with fictional realm archetypes such as Serpentine Traveler (which seems to serve as a catch-all for East Asian features), which is broad but effortlessly allows the game world to expand beyond the presumed European-archetype kingdom explored in the game.

Ultimately, the ethnic diversity still skews almost exclusively in favor of white European equivalents. However, the ability to customize the template looks exists, so I find myself feeling thankful for the options.

The first Dark Souls character creator featuring one black and possibly two
"Asian" ethnic templates.

Many other games will allow you to make your skin purple and your hair green, but if you want your skin to be a natural ebony color or to have curly, kinky twists or locs, forget about it. However, the series and Dark Souls II in particular excels in this regard. While Dark Souls II did not provide ethnic templates (as show above, the first Dark Souls provided "Jubilant Catarina" as a catch-all for black characters) as in the first and the third games, I was able to use their Advanced customization settings to make a striking and convincingly black character.

My awesome sorcerer from Dark Souls II.

How does Dark Souls III do?

In terms of functionality, the character creator in the latest installment is nearly identical to past Souls games. They've introduced a couple new fantasy ethnic archetypes, one called the Irithyllians who are reminiscent of the Hyperboreans from Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian, with an ivory white skin tone.

However, some options from previous games have been changed or even removed. The non-white hairstyles made available in Dark Souls II have disappeared, leaving only a standard array of straight hairstyles. This was odd and disappointing. One interesting option is the ability to apply body and facial hair to both sexes. You can have a woman with a hairy tummy and unshaven legs and even a full beard and mustache, in any RGB color you like! And as with previous Souls games, age and a variety of body type templates are available, with sliders to adjust specific areas even further.

Lastly, another area where the Dark Souls series excels where others have failed is in the clothing and armor. All armor appears the same on both sexes; there's no bikini scale-mail to be found here, and any armor that is skimpy or thread-bare appears roughly identical on both men and women avatars.

A fully-armored female knight. Boob plate does not exist.


In summary, Dark Souls III (and the series as a whole) is better than most with a wide variety of skin color and body type options, with the additional equitable treatment of both sexes regarding, muscle, hair, armor, and clothing. The latest game fails to include some much-welcomed non-white hairstyles, a blemish which if rectified, would have elevated this character creator among the best available. If you like dark, mysterious, and very challenging fantasy RPGs, you can't do much better that the Dark Souls series.

Adrian Martinez is a graphic designer, comic book letterer, hobbyist writer, and all-around geek living in New York City.