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46 Comments

360 Avatars Can't Flip You The Bird Or Smoke Angel Dust

Want to know the limits of what the Xbox 360 avatars can and can't do?

DO NOT LET THIS CARTOON MAN SMOKE DRUGS 

If you've got fantasies of beheading an Xbox 360 avatar, then using yours to steal a car and run over babies while you drive to your friendly neighborhood drug dealer, where you score a bag of dust and proceed to get dusted, I've got bad news for you. Firstly, you'll be hearing from my lawyers, who will inform you to get out of my head. Secondly, Microsoft has issued a list of things those cartoony things are forbidden from doing.

Specifically, the list, which comes to us by way of OXM UK, has been issued to developers in the XNA Indie Games program. Any of those formerly-known-as-Community-Games games that happen to use the system's avatars have to go through a peer review process to make sure they aren't crossing the line.

Where's the line, you ask? Most of them are pretty standard stuff, like violence that goes beyond what you'd see in a football game, or "excreting obscene bodily fluids or substances." There goes that avatar-based version of Don't Shit Your Pants I was working on...

But then there are a few guidelines that are aimed at the sanctity of the experience. Avatars aren't allowed to have their own identity. Since they're supposed to be a representation of the player, they aren't allowed to really break the fourth wall and attempt to interact with the player.

And then there's this one. "Avatars may leave innocents or bystanders slightly injured, but not dead." Weeeeak. What, you wouldn't pay 800 points for a multiplayer third-person shooter where the avatars blow each other to gory little bits?

If you're interested in the rest of the list, it lives on over here.

Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
46 Comments
Posted by Jeff
DO NOT LET THIS CARTOON MAN SMOKE DRUGS 

If you've got fantasies of beheading an Xbox 360 avatar, then using yours to steal a car and run over babies while you drive to your friendly neighborhood drug dealer, where you score a bag of dust and proceed to get dusted, I've got bad news for you. Firstly, you'll be hearing from my lawyers, who will inform you to get out of my head. Secondly, Microsoft has issued a list of things those cartoony things are forbidden from doing.

Specifically, the list, which comes to us by way of OXM UK, has been issued to developers in the XNA Indie Games program. Any of those formerly-known-as-Community-Games games that happen to use the system's avatars have to go through a peer review process to make sure they aren't crossing the line.

Where's the line, you ask? Most of them are pretty standard stuff, like violence that goes beyond what you'd see in a football game, or "excreting obscene bodily fluids or substances." There goes that avatar-based version of Don't Shit Your Pants I was working on...

But then there are a few guidelines that are aimed at the sanctity of the experience. Avatars aren't allowed to have their own identity. Since they're supposed to be a representation of the player, they aren't allowed to really break the fourth wall and attempt to interact with the player.

And then there's this one. "Avatars may leave innocents or bystanders slightly injured, but not dead." Weeeeak. What, you wouldn't pay 800 points for a multiplayer third-person shooter where the avatars blow each other to gory little bits?

If you're interested in the rest of the list, it lives on over here.

Posted by Moztacular

It's a shame avatars exist in the first place for us to have to put up with this business.

Posted by needforswede

Wow, Microsoft really is turning into Nintendo.

Posted by Crono

Avatars are lame enough as is, we don't need a body of laws to govern their lameness.

Posted by Zabant

Sounds like a whole bunch of i don't give a fuck anymore.

They are to scared of soiling their new family friendly image by having you give the flying fuck motion to a persons avatar while you shoot their grey matter out the back of their skull.

Posted by killdave

You're in my head, in your head, having a party

Posted by Walreese55

Why are there avatars again?

Posted by Rinkalicous

Imagine a game where your avatar steals your identity and you have to hunt him down to get it back by punching him in the stomach until he throws up and then dies. That idea is ruined on so many levels by these rules. Damn!

Edited by pisk
 "... a multiplayer third-person shooter where the avatars blow each other to gory little bits?"

I wouldn't describe enemies in the game as "innocents" or "bystanders". They are probably talking about characters like civilians in GTA IV.
(I didn't read the whole list.)
Posted by MeatSim

I wouldn't really care for avatar based games I just want full on regular games.

Posted by HatKing

So basically anybody can make something that is really simular to avatars and then allow the player to do whatever they want.  This list is stupid to the point the only games that would use it are going to be those really dumbed down party games.

Posted by TheToecutter

Way to limit developers, Microsoft.

Posted by Luke

Bunk.

Posted by JoelTGM

That is funny.  The 360 is turning into a family fun box.

Posted by tekmojo
@TheToecutter said:
" Way to limit developers, Microsoft. "

Posted by Herreno

Is anyone really that suprised at this?

Posted by dankempster

I just noticed, that's Kush's Avatar in the image. Nice to see the rapport between the staff and the community here at Giant Bomb continues to remain strong.

Posted by erinfizz

Am I safe if I have had similar thoughts, but about Miis?

Posted by Daniel_Newton

"What, you wouldn't pay 800 points for a multiplayer third-person shooter where the avatars blow each other to gory little bits?"

Damn you're right Jeff, I would totally buy that game!

Posted by Agnogenic_delete

I actually did want a third person shooter that used avatars... maybe I am just odd.

Posted by FlipperDesert

"Violence that goes beyond what you'd see in a football game," does that mean I can kick people in the shins and headbutt them or trigger a riot?

Edited by natetodamax

It's the cruelest joke to play
I'm so high, i run in place
Only a line, we separate, so

I keep on playin our favorite song
I turn it up while you're gone
It's all i got when you're in my head and you're in my head so i need it

You're the only thing i've got that i can't seem to get enough
We collide for one embrace, so

Hurry up & wait forever
Hurry up & wait for forever


Anyway, the Xbox avatars suck and I wish they would go away.
Posted by Nasar7

Weak. I'm pretty sure people have died playing football, too.

Posted by Expletive

aaaaggghhh, my dreams.....they're being crushed!

Posted by TheMustacheHero

Funny, I heard Mii's in games could cut each other's heads off.

Posted by Surllio

Hated them to begin with, so the list doesn't really bother me at all.

Posted by LordAndrew

But you could do those things to non-avatar characters, right? Then why put these restrictions on avatar use specifically and not XNA Indie Games in general?

Posted by TheHBK

Ok, so wait, does that mean that a regular character, say Marcus Fenix, can chainsaw an Avatar in half?  The avatar is not hurting anyone, just being hurt.  Also it says bystanders and innocents, so basically no avatar pedestrians in GTA but you can have a multiplayer shootout between them.  Since who is innocent in a deathmatch?

Posted by musdy

Looks like Vinny.

Edited by Jimbo

They can't show you the bottom of their shoe either.

OH WHA BAM! You better believe I went there.

Online
Posted by RazielCuts
  • Replace Avatar features

The features of an avatar cannot be hidden or in obscured and cannot be replaced with alternative items. Items such as, but not limited to, masks, hats and alternative clothing,  are not allowed


What the hell is up with that, that was like the only way that avatars could kind of been cool. For the generic example of hey, I did blah and I have a masterchief helmet on my dude. etc etc. 


LAME

Posted by Snail

Is that Kush's avatar?

Posted by Krakn3Dfx

XBL avatars try way too hard.  I like the generic sameness that comes along with every 4th Mii.

My Rod Stewart Mii looks like Patrick Stewart.

So does my Martha Stewart Mii.

Posted by JJOR64

WHAT!  I CAN'T FLIP PEOPLE OFF!?  THAT'S LAME!

Posted by TheSovereign

There was never a point in having them in the first place.

Posted by FalcomAdol

Seems reasonable to me.  The more interesting news is that avatar support is going into the XNA kit, which I never would have thought would happen.

Posted by Aaox

Alright, fine. I'm getting out of your head, Jeff.

Edited by Manatassi
@RazielCuts said:
"
  • Replace Avatar features

The features of an avatar cannot be hidden or in obscured and cannot be replaced with alternative items. Items such as, but not limited to, masks, hats and alternative clothing,  are not allowed


What the hell is up with that, that was like the only way that avatars could kind of been cool. For the generic example of hey, I did blah and I have a masterchief helmet on my dude. etc etc. 


LAME

"
I think that only applies to people using avatars in community games etc. Possibly for the very reason that they are planning to have items that you can wear on your head etc and they would clip through or conflict with in game stuff.

Most of the rules make sense in the context of live really. better than being flipped off constantly by a bunch of annoying 12 year olds. atleast you can silence them, imagine if you could stil see their avatar guesturing at you...  makes sense *shrug*
Posted by jakob187

Wait, so does this mean that the avatar can go into space and fire the Death Star at an inhabited planet?  I'd be okay with that at least.


PLEASE TELL ME THE AVATARS CAN USE THE DEATH STAR!!!
Posted by Reverseface

I was hoping avatars would fuck shit up. GO BANANA ON YA ASSES. his is indeed weak and weaker erer

Posted by Ineedaname

No voice? Wait why?

Posted by Ghostin

I guess my plan for an Avatar game called Aswad Danceoff is still safe... whew.

Posted by Nat3TheGreat13

My hope's of my avatar being able to blow shit up has been crushed.

Posted by Jayzilla

no sidewalk smiles=mo purchase for me.

Posted by RHCPfan24

Hey, it's KUSH!!!! :D

I want to see a game where I can blow up avatars, however. CannoliCrasher is first to go...

Posted by Media_Master

too bad.