This is a popular line of thought. There are RPGs that do that (, and it's a welcome feature), but I wouldn't say that it's a core aspect of RPGs—because one doesn't have to invent the character to roleplay them; if it exists... it's a role, and it's playable. Indeed it's common in PnP games for players to be assigned a PC if they don't have one. I have seen posts by people who won't play a game unless the avatar is the same sex as them; Planescape:Torment has that a lot, because you only get the one character, and he is male. I consider Planescape to be a better RPG than Fallout —ergo better than most RPGs. I don't think it's a better game than Fallout though. The advantage [one of them] for an RPG with user created characters, is that the user can create their own character (but of course). However this limits what the game has for them; like in the way that the story of a Choose-Your-Own adventure book is but a fraction of the the pages within the book; one reads only one side of each choice. An advantage for an assigned character, is that they can write a better story for it; because they can know who that characters is—even better than the player does. In the Witcher, Geralt has a presence in the world, and people remember him from years before the game starts. He is not a faceless stranger who NPCs comment to that they used to be just like him, before they took an arrow to the knee. I will not claim that either style is the better, or the truer form of RPG, but it is the case that both styles have their strengths and shortcomings, and a player will miss the other side of good RPGs for only sticking to one style. If you ever want to play the Witcher series again (I highly recommend... at least the first one), it might help to experience it as an exercise in extrapolation (of this Geralt fellow), based on what you can tell of him from the interactions. He has a sense of humor... and that's not always something you get from a generic custom PC—where the dialog options might not even exist in the game. Can I ask you why? [without being taken as judgmental... it's not. I am just curious.] The reason is, that in my case, I play the games to roleplay someone—anyone—with problems, and an outlook very different to my own; and preferably unfamiliar to me. The last thing I want is an avatar in a world where I don't belong. Bethesda (just for instance) designs their games for the PC to be the player as—whatever PC they choose... Be a warrior, be a mage; be both... in fact it distills down to "Do whatever the hell you want, with very few limitations". Harking back to "core aspects of RPGs" I would say that limitation itself is the paramount core aspect of any RPG—or should be, because that's what they do. RPGs evaluate when to say 'no', and they do this based on the strengths and weaknesses of the character in play. To have the PC be both avatar, and character would seem to cheat the core concept that the game facilitates... like having a player whose day job is locksmithing, and who can open the [assume physically accurate working] locks in the game because they know how... but the character wouldn't know how if they did not study the skill; so how is this clueless PC opening all of these locks? That is the crux of the player skill vs. character skill argument. In FO3, the player can influence the gun accuracy, and pull off shots that the PC might not have the skill to repeatedly manage. This might also be true of riddles in RPGs. If the player has heard it before, then should they be allowed to answer —for— the PC? What if the PC's stats imply that they are not at all very bright, and would likely not even understand the wording itself, let alone answer the riddle. *And the flip side: What if the PC's stats implied they are quite superior to the player? Isn't that part of the draw with roleplaying? To roleplay as Bruce Lee, or the Hulk, or Gandalf, or Dr Who—Dr. Strange even. This brings up the notion of the impairment of the PC, by player inadequacy holding them back. Imagine an RPG where the player picks the locks themselves... but they are roleplaying a master thief... and they cannot manage to pick the locks. That's out of character for a master thief. In Witcher 2, you play Geralt; a master sword fighter... and if you cannot master the combat puppetry... he gets brutalized by the common street thugs —that's out of character for an expert fighter, trained to handle large groups and to fight giants. Because it's best for the story. Additionally, it's impactful, and it leaves you while you are still interested—even reflective about what may have happened after. *The things that nobody needs to know, and that could spoil it for them if they did. Just for an example consider the film Highlander as a cautionary tale of this. Now that is a film where most diehard fans probably wish the franchise ended with it. As has been often mentioned in the past... Some things are a nice option—unless/ or until they become the only option. It would be a sad day indeed, if every game out there had to support the player wandering around indefinitely within it, in order to sell. In Planescape, the character is fighting to regain their ability to die. In Baldur's Gate 2, the PC can end the game as a god—what comes after that? Whatever it is, it is almost certainly anti-climactic. In any game where they are fighting to save the world... and do... after that it's back to farming, and spending nights at the neighborhood bar. Or do they seriously roam the woods looking for anything that will attack them? In Fallout, after saving the world the PC expected to pick up life where they left off, but instead that past life had come to an abrupt end—they were different people than when they had started out. They couldn't have gone back to spending week nights in the commissary, and playing cards with their neighbors. [And mechanically speaking, all that was left was random encounters in the wasteland—which is effectively what the dev's chose by having the PC be banished by the Overseer. Presumably these happened to them as they wandered the wastes.] This is what you want, sure; but this is describing a simulator... like a game for a jet pilot where they never run out of fuel, and always get to keep flying, because that's the fun part for them. I am not knocking it, or that you like it, but it just doesn't seem very RPG-like to me. Bethesda makes games like that. They are like the fictional theme park that the film Westworld depicted, and that the HBO series of the same name was based upon. In Westworld, guests would suit up in cowboy garb, and spend the week in the old west. That's not roleplaying in the sense that they played a character like Billy the Kid, or Wyatt Earp ... that's a dress-up game, where they are are playing themselves in costume —not limited by a character, and the rest of the world plays along.