How Accessible Were This Year’s Games? | Game Maker’s Toolkit

How Accessible Were This Year’s Games? | Game Maker’s Toolkit


Around this time last year, I made a series
of videos called Designing for Disability, where I looked at the options and design decisions
that developers could employ, to make their games more accessible to players living with
disabilities. So I looked at colourblind palettes, audio
visualisers, customisable controls, and optional assist modes. It was fascinating to see the ways that games
could be tweaked to be more approachable – but also sad to see when games dropped the ball
and shut certain players out. But now, 12 months on, I thought it was a
good time to check back in and see how the industry was doing. So, over the last few weeks, I played 50 of
the most noteworthy games that were released in 2019 – from massive new blockbusters like
Death Stranding and Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, to indie titles like Overland and Untitled
Goose Game. I wanted to see where they succeeded, and
where they struggled in terms of accessibility. And this is what I found out. Part 1 – Auditory The first huge game of 2019 was Capcom’s
terrifying remake of Resident Evil 2 – which spooked a whole new generation of players,
with the aid of this bulky bloke in a Brony’s hat: Mr. X. You’ll spend the majority of the game on
the run from this unstoppable, unkillable nightmare – only able to predict his position
by listening out for his clonking great footsteps. Unless, of course, you’re deaf or hard of
hearing. That’s because Resident Evil 2 offers no
visual reinforcement of Mr. X’s footsteps, making him near impossible to track for those
living with some auditory disabilities. CanIPlayThat.com dubbed the game “virtually
unplayable very early on for deaf/hoh players,” and a “complete failure in accessibility”. Other games this year went some way to help
convey sound effects to those who can’t hear them. Far Cry: New Dawn offers sound subtitles for
things like gunfire and explosions, with little arrows that point to the sound’s source. And in Gears 5, that iconic musical sting that
symbolises that all enemies are dead, is subtitled as “music settles”. Plus, in that game, enemy bullet trails are
– by default – shown as clearly visible yellow lines to help you see where shots are coming
from. Another game worth mentioning is Apex Legends,
and its clever ping system. This lets you highlight areas, enemies, and
objects to team mates through both a subtitled voice line and a visual indicator – allowing
players to communicate important info in a multiplayer game, but without audio. Of course, a really important feature for
deaf and hard of hearing players is subtitles for spoken dialogue. And this year saw some really good examples
with nice big fonts, speaker names, and high contrast backgrounds. Remedy’s mind-melting shooter Control has
very readable subtitles. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order offers massive
great subtitles if you want them. And Metro Exodus also employs black backgrounds
and speaker names. Most of these let you customise the subtitles
yourself, through a menu of different options. Also this year, Ubisoft experimented with
having subtitles on by default. And discovered that, in Far Cry New Dawn, a whopping
great 97% of players kept them on. Other games offer subtitles as an option before
the game even begins. It’s also of note that every game I played
this year actually has subtitles. Which shouldn’t be noteworthy, but at the
tail end of 2018, Activision released the Spyro Reignited Trilogy without any subtitles
at all in its major cutscenes. Thankfully, they were added in a patch this
year. But still, there’s plenty of examples of
less-than-ideal subtitles. Many games fail to include the speaker’s
name through labels or colour coding. Games like Borderlands 3 and Rage 2 put way
too much text on one line, forcing you to scan across the entire screen to read the
subtitles. Some games mismatch the text and audio, like
in Planet Zoo where the actor says “Trade Center”, but the subtitle says “Animal
Storage”. Games still fail to include subtitles for
every part of the game. In FIFA 20, the commentators aren’t subtitled,
this opening cutscene in RAGE 2 has no subtitles, and Breakpoint doesn’t transcribe certain
enemy barks, which lets them get the drop on you. Also, some games still use on-brand fonts
instead of plain, sans serif text. And while games like Devil May Cry 5 and Sekiro
aren’t bad, Blasphemous’s pixelated gothic font is, well, blasphemous. And finally, there’s the all-too-familar,
too-small subtitles. Crackdown 3 has teeny tiny text to read while
punching up bad guys, and The Surge 2 has microscopic subtitles. But subtitles aren’t the only place where
you’ll find small text. Which brings us onto part two. Part 2 – Visual Text size is the area where games most frequently
fail, in terms of accessibility. Not just in subtitles, but across user interfaces,
in collectible documents, and on your heads-up display. So The Outer Worlds continues to be a squint
‘em up, thanks to minute words all across its user interface. The text in Fire Emblem: Three Houses is small
on your TV, but minuscule on your Switch. And Death Stranding tries to look cool with
its sleek UI, but it’s a struggle to parse at a distance. The worst perp of 2019, though, is the tactical
Baba Yaga simulator John Wick Hex, which writes some critical information in text that’s
only 12 points big. Luckily, other games use a far more readable
font size. In Outer Wilds, the rumours on the computer
are nice and legible from most distances – and it’s the same with the user interface in
Kingdom Hearts III, and the translation screens in Heaven’s Vault. Other games offer the option to choose your
own text size: such as the existential detective drama Disco Elysium, and the gothic horror
adventure Sunless Skies. Planet Zoo, Ghost Recon Breakpoint, and Borderlands
3 let you scale the entire user interface, making both text and icons easier to see. And this isn’t just important for accessibility
– because as we move into a future where the same game can be steamed to your big TV or
your tiny phone screen, scaleable user interfaces are going to have to become the norm. Another area where some games have shined,
is in offering players the option to switch out special fonts for plain, easy-to-read
text: Untitled Goose Game lets you change its cursive to-do list to a more basic font. And Overland is one of the only games
this year to offer a font choice that’s designed to aid those with dyslexia. A number of games this year also use built-in
screen reader tech, to have the game speak its text to you. Here’s how Eagle Island sounds when clicking
through the menu SCREEN READER: “Controls. Save.
Game. Use right stick.” And Apex Legends can turn text chat messages
into voice, and voice chat messages into text, so you won’t miss people talking about your
low level profile SCREEN READER: “TADEthePRO says
‘Level 2’ ‘omg’ ‘why’.” And finally, more games are giving players
the chance to read text at their own speed. Bloodstained won’t go to the next line until
you press a button, and Tangle Tower lets you pause the dialogue at any moment. Time’s always ticking by in the clockwork
space sim Outer Wilds, but you can have the game pause while reading text. And Kingdom Hearts III lets you slow down
time when clicking through menus. Another key area for visual accessibility
is colourblindness. And this year saw some great approaches to
the problem. The Color Dungeon in The Legend of Zelda:
Link’s Awakening DX wasn’t much fun for those with Deuteranopia – but this year’s Switch remake
adds things like distinct shapes on the enemies and unique cracks in the floor tiles, to help
distinguish between the different colours. Far Cry New Dawn has another simple colourblind
mode, which makes key on-screen elements become pink and yellow. Total War: Three Kingdoms lets you switch
the colour scheme of the game’s different factions. And Resident Evil 2 lets you pick the laser
dot colour of your weapons, to help it stand out from the background. Apex Legends has one of the better features,
with three distinct palettes, and a preview of what those new colours will look like right
there on the menu. And The Outer Worlds doesn’t confer information
solely through colour by design, because one of the company’s directors is colourblind. Some games, though, are still using these
full-screen filters, which often don’t work as intended and only really have the affect
of making the game look ugly and gross. The full screen Protanopia filter in Modern
Warfare, for example, doesn’t stop red enemy names from blending into the background at
key moments. Thankfully, the Call of Duty series has long
since switched from red and green teams, to red and blue ones. And some games do still use colour as the
exclusive way to convey information. In Death Stranding, the labels on your packages
go from yellow to red to indicate how beaten up they are – plus some tiny scuffs and scratches. Those labels are practically identical to
those with certain types of colourblindness. Thanks to Twitter user RazorBeamz for pointing
that one out. Providing more visual clarity is a good way
to alleviate the problems of colourblindness – and help with other visual disabilities. In Eagle Island, you can dim the background
to make the foreground layer easier to see – plus, you can put outlines around enemies
and objects to help them pop out. In FIFA 20, you can boost the size of the
player indicators. And in Ghost Recon Breakpoint, you can not
only boost the size of the user interface – but you can put shadows behind indicators
and markers to ensure they stand out from the background. Part 3 – Motor One of the most requested features, when it
comes to accessibility, is the option to remap a game’s controls. This lets players with motor disabilities
put all of the key functions in easy-to-reach places, or avoid using difficult inputs like
touchpads or the buttons under the analogue sticks. Unfortunately, some games still don’t offer
any controller options whatsoever, including the Zelda remake, the avant-garde Postman
Pat episode Death Stranding, and the zombie biker game Days Gone. Other games make do with presets. Crackdown 3, The Outer Worlds, Resident Evil
2, and Wolfenstein Youngblood just have you pick between a few developer-made layouts. Not bad, but not good enough. But I’m really pleased to see just how many
games this year let you pick your own button placement. The Surge 2, Team Sonic Racing, and Sekiro:
Shadows Die Twice have full remapping. And Devil May Cry 5 shows how it’s important
to provide this on a game level, rather than relying on the system-level remapping, by
letting you independently wire up the inputs for the game’s three distinct characters,
Nero, Dante, and V. Apex Legends and Borderlands 3 go a step further,
and don’t just let you pick your own buttons, but give you really in-depth control over
things like camera sensitivity and dead zone options. Plus, there are aim assist and aim snap options
to help you pick out targets. Also of note is Overland, where the entire
game can be played with just a mouse. Or just a controller. Or just a keyboard. Those are really strong options that should
open the game up to a wide range of players. This year’s MVP, though, is Gears 5. Between controller remapping, the ability
to make the camera follow behind your character, and the option to use the left stick for aiming
when your gun is raised, you can basically play the game with one hand. Tricky, but possible, thanks to a wide range
of accessibility options. Pokémon Sword and Shield is notable, too,
for its casual control scheme that maps all important buttons onto one Switch joy-con,
making it possible to play the game with just one hand. This thoughtful option is especially welcome
after the disastrously inaccessible Pokémon Let’s Go, which forced players to use cumbersome
waggle gestures to throw Pokeballs. Toggles are key, too – as seen in Crackdown
3’s lock-on mode. In Borderlands 3’s aim, sprint, and crouch
options. And in Yoshi’s Crafted World, where hasty
and patient egg throwing is basically just about toggling or holding the aim button. These stop players from needing to hold a
button down for great periods of time, which can be impossible with some motor disabilities. Unfortunately not every game got the memo:
you need to hold down the lock-on button in DMC 5, and Team Sonic Racing should have just nicked
Mario Kart 8’s generous auto-drive option. Most games also let you turn off these button-bashy
quick time events these days, but there’s sadly no such
option in Jedi: Fallen Order. Part 4 – Difficulty Finally, let’s take a moment to talk about
difficulty settings in games. Offering more lenient challenge levels can
give players with disabilities more time to deal with threats – but also allows players
with all sorts of skill levels to get into games. This year we saw lots of games with plenty
of difficulty options to pick from, and the language used on these options is much better. Instead of patronising players who choose
to play on easy, this year’s games talk about wanting to feel like a badass – or just
focus on the storyline. The exact nature of these difficulty modes
is often described to the player – Astral Chain’s Unchained mode will do the hard
combos for you, but won’t give you a letter ranking. And Resident Evil 2’s assisted difficulty
mode replenishes your health. Some developers note which difficulty level
is intended by the designers, which is great. Super Mario Maker 2 continues Nintendo’s
campaign for assist modes, with the option to bring up a palette of blocks and items
that you can place inside levels to help you out. And Yoshi’s Mallow mode gives you infinite
flight to breeze through stages, which is perfect for really young players. And also on Switch, there’s the rhythm action
roguelike Cadence of Hyrule which typically expects players to move to the beat of the
music. I don’t know if having no sense of rhythm
counts as a disability, but I personally really appreciated the game’s fixed beat mode,
which lets you move without conforming to the beat of the song. But then there’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Yeah, you saw it coming. I don’t want to replay the conversation
that the internet had back at the game’s launch because there’s more than enough articles,
videos, and tweetstorms out there about easy modes and whatnot. But it is worth noting that From Software’s
latest game is actually less accessible than the notoriously tough Dark Souls and Bloodborne. And that’s because it takes out key features
like the ability to level up your character, or invite a friend into your game to help
out with bosses. Sekiro does offer some accessibility options,
like full controller remapping and toggles, but there’s nothing to make the game less
gruelling. And I think that makes Sekiro stand out in
a year where developers have typically tried to make their games as approachable and accessible
as possible – and often through completely optional tweaks and modes that don’t affect
the experience for the able-bodied or hardcore player. That’s not to say there aren’t missteps. It’s clear that games still have a long
way to go with accessibility, with annoying oversights like too-small text, features that don’t work if you’re
colourblind, and silly stuff like how boosting both the UI and the subtitles in Borderlands
3 makes the text fall off the side of the screen. Whoops. And it’s especially aggravating when a game
makes big strides in one area, but stumbles in others – like Control with its huge subtitles,
but small UI text. Or publishers that aren’t consistent across
their games – most notably Nintendo, which has great features in some games, but a complete
lack of options in others. Plus: we’re seeing a number of games where
important accessibility options are being added to the game months after release in
downloadable patches. Better late than never, of course, but it’s
not a good look when players with certain disabilities have to wait ages to play a huge
Sony game like Days Gone. But still, I’m actually really impressed
by the strides we’ve seen in 2019. Ubisoft continues to be the industry leader
in this space with amazing features across Far Cry New Dawn, The Division 2, and Ghost
Recon Breakpoint. Microsoft’s doing great too: Gears 5 has
an enormous selection of options, from colourblind settings to controller remapping to button
toggles to gore and language filters, making it one of the most feature-packed games of
the year. Respawn works really hard, with great options
in both Apex Legends and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Borderlands 3 has lots of thoughtful options,
which is good for a series that has struggled with this stuff in the past. Overland and Eagle Island are jam packed with
accessibility features, despite being made by tiny indie teams. And hardcore, ultra-challenging games like
Devil May Cry 5 and Astral Chain want everyone to join in – and so offer practice areas,
assisted combos, and easy difficulty settings. But those looking for a challenge will not
struggle to find it. But most of all, it’s just impressive to
see how almost every major game this year includes some kind of accessibility option
– or a full accessibility menu. And how studios like Microsoft, Ubisoft, and
EA are publishing info on their accessibility options online so players can make better
purchasing decisions. How Microsoft dedicated its 2019 Superbowl
commercial to its adaptive Xbox controller. And how the Fortnite clan FaZe enlisted the
deaf player Ewok – who can tear up the competition thanks to the game’s clever audio visualiser. Because games are for everyone. It’s just that developers might need to
provide a few extra options. Hey, thanks so much for watching! And cheers to accessibility specialist Ian
Hamilton, once again, for his assistance and wisdom. This was probably the most expensive video
I’ve ever made – and it’s about… accessibility options? What is wrong with me? But this is totally possible thanks to GMTK
supporters who back me on Patreon, or buy GMTK merch from my Teespring store. Details on both can be found in the description
below.

100 comments

  1. Just wanted to clarify that the reason this was my "most expensive video" was because I had to pay hundreds of pounds to buy all of the new games. And that was slightly crazy because videos on accessibility options / disabilities are not exactly the most popular or profitable thing on YouTube. I'm indebted to my Patreon backers (and other supporters through Teespring and the Epic Game Store creator tag GMTOOLKIT) for making this sort of stuff possible! Cheers!

  2. I have extreme dyslexia so i personally just keep away from games that isn't action based. For me it's sometimes hard to play RPGs and indigames where they don't have voice acting or have huge text dumps on the player. It's specially pain full when it's games with lore i want to learn like: Dark souls, Hollow knight or Death stranding. But games like Bioshock or Dishonored 2 that allowed me to listen to audio logs from characters is a blessing. Some might think it's annoying or just a tiny thing no-one cares about. But it makes a huge difference in me being able to get interested in the games world. I'm not a native English speaker so it also helped me understand context or the full meaning.

  3. I think that difficulty would make a great topic for a bespoke video. Unlike other accessibility features, it seems as though it can be a valid exclusionary decision. There's no excuse for locking small text, not offering colorblind options or not having to press a button repeatedly in a quicktime event, but there could be a reason to make a game super difficult. Nobody would ever say "It's important that subtitles be no more than 12pt" or "Making the game colorblind accessible would compromize my artistic vision", but I can easily imagine someone saying "This game is difficult on purpose. We don't care if few people reach the end of it; you've been warned."

    For example, in Cuphead, the difficulty level could be considered a core feature of the game, but there's no reason whatsoever to have the parryable items not colorblind-friendly.

    Games ought to be for everyone, we can all agree, but should EVERY game be for EVERYone? I can't imagine, say, Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy not being excruciatingly hard, it seems like an assist mode would completely destroy the essence of the artistic statement Foddy is trying to make.

    I'm thinking out loud, and I don't have a readymade answer, but it seems like difficulty is a different accessibility

  4. Dude I've been playing fifa since fifa 12 and I've never seen any subtitles of the commentary.
    So there is no need to mention that fifa 20 doesn’t have it

  5. Never understood why all games don't allow full button remapping. Is it an expensive or difficult thing to implement for developers?

  6. Just a quick note that was missed in the video for anyone it might affect: Jedi fallen order also has button remapping.

    Thank you GMTK for bringing this kind of stuff to people’s attention. While it can be costly to add all of these options for every type of person, it is always great to be more inclusive

  7. The best thing for colorblind people in videogames (from my normal vision perspective) seems to be the overall prevalence of blue versus red, instead of green verses red

  8. As someone who is fully abled I adore this video. It's very good to see how games this year have improved to include more people in this hobby

    Edit: Also is fully abled the proper term to use? It feels a little bit insensitive but I'm not sure

  9. The only thing wrong with this video is that you felt a bizarre need to apologize for this being one of your most expensive videos. Even if it wasn't one of your most important (which it certainly is), such an apology is not necessary. Please keep making the content that you want to that speaks to the things you care about in gaming. I promise you, no apology is necessary.

  10. To be fair I dropped lot of titles (and skip really the outer worlds I really waited) just cos of font sizes. It is really not fun to spend up every 1-5 minutes to read something on screen.

  11. Okay, I'll give you props for at least mentioning how it was gate-keepy for Sekiro to have no options for setting up parry timings or other features, especially considering how important those things are and not everyone has the best reaction time out there. I worried you would do the sleazy thing of conveniently ignoring the faults of Sekiro when regarding the topic of difficulty and motor functionality, but good on you. You did better than most.

    I think Jedi Fallen Order was a perfect example of how you can do something challenging but offer plenty of availability to people who struggle with counter timings (a necessary component of the game) and more health for people who just make more mistakes while learning.

    I had never thought of it until a friend explained it to me in this interesting way, because the traditional position is that you should be punished for failure, but the way games tended to handle difficulty is such that players who have certain learning patterns are unnecessarily punished more than others in games. Games are getting better nowadays, but as my friend told me — It's weird that we don't have any games that try to level the playing field in terms of punishment for failure. So like… someone who does well at a game will likely see little to no real punishments during their play time. But someone who naturally struggles to figure things out is unnecessarily punished and the more they try (we are supposed to be persistent according to the rhetoric) the more they are punished. So there is a disparity between people who just get lucky or catch on to certain mechanics easier and allowed to have more fun vs. people who like the gameplay but struggle to memorize all of the combinations or have issues with timings on the meter of fun to punishment ratio. I think that's a problem. And games like Jedi Fallen Order showing you that timings will be more forgiving and show you the damage – health ratios helps level the playing field for people that naturally have more issues with that style of gameplay. Clearly we still have much more options to provide if games are to eliminate this disparity but it's a great thing that more games are doing this. I think more people should be allowed to enjoy a metroidvania/souls-style game, because the world design is fantastic and amazing to experience when you can actually experience it.

  12. A few years ago while at college I was diagnosed with a disability I hadn't noticed yet. After a while I started seeing the differences in my life and in others, and how there were some activities I really wanted to participate in that I simply couldn't, because of my disability (for one example, enjoying the Stranger Things shows – more on that another day though). That was when I started really appreciating it when people would go out of their way to make things accessible for me, so I could have fun too. My disability doesn't really affect my abilities to play video games, but thank you so much for these videos. 🙂 You're one of the most influential video-game-design channels on YouTube and when you stand up for accessibility and making it so everyone can take part, people listen. <3 Thanks Mark.

  13. Honestly it's disappointing that you didn't go even harder on Death Stranding, which feels exceptional to me as one of the least accessible games of this era. The text is agonizing – I have pretty much normal vision, while wearing my glasses, and I can't read two thirds of the text when I'm sitting about ten feet from a 40 inch TV. This is normally an issue I only experience trying to read the names on street signs from blocks away while driving. Aside from just the text size, the bright cyan used for everything creates this glare/bloom effect that only makes every shape more indistinct. When an icon comes up telling me to use a certain button, all I can see is a circle or trigger shape with some vague marking inside it. And at least the cyan is easy to see for many colorblind people – a friend with deuteranopia can't distinguish the red Xes in the terrain scanner at all. This is one of the most important elements of gameplay – the marks that tell the player what spots are risky to walk over – and the red Xes, usually appearing on green or dull-colored landscape elements, simply don't work if you're colorblind. It's a much bigger deal than the container markings, I think.

  14. I see disabilities and gaming kinda like allergies and food. Allergies are a thing you have that will make you unable to eat certain stuff, without your body reacting to it in bad ways. And i feel this also fits with disabilities in gaming. There will be games you are "allergic" to. Some lets you modify the games to remove the "peanuts." But if you are allergic to peanuts you will not be able to eat that peanut butter jelly sandwich. We cant get all cooks in the world to ban peanuts, just because some people are allergic. That would lead to cooks being unable to innovate, and test out stuff with peanuts. But we should atleast get a system like the allergens from cooking world. Where the developers have to be aware of the disabilities that are mostly present, and mark if their game compatible with those people. I still think its important we add stuff to help disabled people. Stuff like customisable buttons and subtitles and colorblind filters should be easy to implement, and shouldnt be difficult and wont intere with the main gameplay. But we should also not let it get in the way of innovation and new stuff.

  15. Multiple people with severe motor disabilities have been shown to finish Sekiro. That's what the game is. Making all enemies be killable in one hit wouldn't make it any more engaging for disabled players.

  16. I really liked the difficulty settings in Fallen Order. Because there is a Story Mode and because of the bars that tell you the differences between the settings at a glance.

  17. I never gave a damn about accessibility as a gamer… As a young lad, I had the mentality that if you couldn't play the game; get good or don't play it at all. Now that I'm making my own games I've changed my tune on that view… feels bad when your buddy can't access your game's content because of poor design choices. :

  18. It’s important that notice the difference between accessibility and making a game easier. Sometimes I’ll use certain accessibility feature because I prefer it even if it doesn’t necessarily make the game easier.

  19. Thank you for always bringing attention to these issues in games! Even though I'm not somebody who needs most accessibility options, it makes me so glad when developers make sure that everyone can play.

  20. now if only YouTube got the memo. it dims the bottom of the screen for the final 2ish minutes of each video if you stream it over Chromecast so i can't read the subtitles 😔
    I need those damnit

  21. At around 07:00 you say that Overland is the only game this year offering a dyslexic friendly font as an option, well Lost Ember was just released yesterday and has a setting (plus some other accessibility options) to use a Dyslexic friendly font for subtitles, which since it is an Environmental Narrative Game (aka Walking Sim) is the only text in game. So that would make 2 games this year that offer that option 😉

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1OQ0L080EYdJ1c7aeq_t1mZKNBzqDZilC/view

    I would like to add that I love the work you do with these videos, we might not agree on everything (game design wise, on accessibility options I am on full agreement) but it is always a joy to watch!

  22. One more group that really profits from an easy mode or even a story mode is people like Mark himself, people trying to do analysis. Those people are going to have a much easier time getting through the game or to specific spots, especially if you're just writing something about the story. It's also an incentive for developers, I mean you don't just want people to be able to play your game, you also want them to be able to talk about your game as freely as possible.

  23. one thing we tend to forget about this is that it costs alot of time to develop properly…designing your game to be maximum accessible is also trying to please everybody at the same time..
    Which always comes at a cost and often isnt even possible for every title. especially indie

    Games development cycles become steadily longer and more expensive.thats why we have seen such a rise in microtransactions in AAA titles. i wonder where this is going as the tools used for development arent scaling as fast as the games themselves do.

  24. Playing Jedi fallen order I was forced to lower the difficulty to the lowest level during boss fight because I couldn't do the QTEs which makes the fights very unsatisfying

  25. Great video. I'm not much educated on the topic and seeing for example how Cuphead is different for some people was really jarring. I love video games and I want to share that with others, I want all people to have the chance to try them out. So I do hope improvements in this field continue.

  26. The two main accessibility issues I have with games are QTEs because I can't physically mash buttons that fast and some controls being locked to certain keys

  27. From a totally functional person (without any disability, not sure what that is called in english) point of view, this video is so eye openning. There are so many different thing that could cause people to be unable to play certain game I'd never think of. Yet we still need a lot of media coverage on this topic just so more companies are aware of the problem and hopefully in some time everyone will be able to enjoy this awesome medium of games.

  28. It'd help if there were quick 'benchmark' style options to try out your changed options in the 'real-world' of the game's environment. You change the button layout, stick sensitivity, toggles, UI size, text size etc but I imagine most people would prefer to have a safe zone to tweak and adjust these options before diving into the game proper. It'd help if there was a 'training mode' just to try out your various changes. Like the blank space in MGS4 were you can get used to the controls and how the guns feel before playing the main game.

  29. Sekiro is accessible. The problem with Sekiro is that some people cannot or do not want to stick through with it due to its difficulty. But that is not an acessabilty issue. The game is ment to be hard. It should be a challange. It's a game about overcoming challange and becoming better. Making it easy will completely destroy the experience.
    I really hope FromSoftware is not listening to the whining about Sekiro being too hard. Their games have helped many people and me overcome real life problems because it showed us that we can 'git gud' if we just try again. It shows us that we can learn, adapt and become better than we were before.
    So yeah, if the game is too hard for you then try again and again. If it still does not work then let it be but don't destroy this wonderful live changing experience for the people who enjoy it!

  30. And your unfunny joke about fedoras has made me down vote this cause I'm still not over years of bullying I got for wearing those hats.

  31. One thing I think people miss is low violence, blood and non leathal options. Depending on who you are it can make a big difference for some players

  32. I think that one of the best things that Sekiro does to make it accessible without lowering its natural difficulty is the fact that it has the best and most clear tutorial that Miyazaki has ever made, it includes lots of prompts for key mechanics and features (such as Perilous Attacks), it includes visual hints for grappling points, features an specific character that teaches you the basics of the combat without any risk and has the first pause menu of the series. Most of the difficulty in Soulsborne games came from having not a single idea of what to do or where to go, and I think Sekiro is incredibly clear in this area. While it is, certainly, the hardest game Miyazaki has ever made since Bloodborne, its difficulty is the most accessible, if it makes any sense.

    Anyway, these videos are great and raise awareness among devs and players about issues that we tend to forget very easily. Amazing work as always, Mark!

  33. If you want to see a mobile game that gets accessibility right you should check out Subwords – it's unfortunately iOS exclusive but it got a decent amount of attention and is one of the apps preinstalled on Apple demo devices.

  34. While I agree with most of the opinion piece, the section on game difficulty is very subjective. I don't think games should always offer hand-holding options, especially when developers intend for difficult and borderline frustrating experiences.14:10 Wolfenstein's difficulty selection options are based around the atmosphere of the game, and shouldn't really be criticized for offending the player's feelings. Souls-like games are notorious for being difficult and the fanbase enjoys the amount of skill needed to progress through the bosses. It seems like these days, all games should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their experience, skill, and patience, which has lead to insanely easy options for games that weren't designed to be played that way. For example, Celeste is an insanely technical platformer, where each frame input matters, and as the levels progress, the timing windows and directional inputs become even more precise. The satisfying parts of Celeste are the level breakthroughs after countless deaths in various parts of the level, as you are forced to learn and improve. I will never be able to finish all of the B sides, and I'm okay with that because the core of the game revolves around precise inputs and timing those accurately. Games can be praised for including easier modes, but they shouldn't be criticized for not being easy enough.

  35. The most important thing I got from this video is that this year came out 50 new unmissable games. And I've played 1. It's going to be a wild December for me.

  36. Learned more about myself when the screen wiped over the clip of Cuphead to show the deuteranopia simulation and it didn’t look any different than it did before.

  37. I think From Software did it right. "Here's the game. You can adjust the Controller to your liking. Now GET GUD". Plus the tutorial and the undead guy to practice your moves on.

  38. I have no hearing disabilities but I am not a native English speaker. Having subtitles turned on helped me learn more English via games or movies so I can check spellings. It also helps if the words spoken are whispered or something like that and I miss them. Now I'm quite good at English ( top in my class in fact 😉 ) but I still feel like leaving subtitles on. It feels a bit uneasy if I don't. I should probably experiment turning them off and just listening sometimes to check how my hearing ability goes but regardless, I always prefer them turned on.
    I feel like a lot of people may feel that way, so I find it strange that subs aren't on by default in most games that utilize them (which are basically every game with spoken dialogue in modern time).

  39. QTE's should go the way of the dinosaurs even for gamers without disabilities. QTE's are just horrible in general

    Accessibility is nice, but not every game should have them. There is a wide variety in gaming. There is always a game for you to find and play.

  40. I really hate it when the dialogues go on without the player's input and there's not even a pause between the phrases. I get confused when I have no time to parse the information and it really kills the experience for me

  41. I'm real glad you made these videos. I don't have any (major) disabilities myself, but seeing people help others so they can enjoy the game too makes me makes really happy.

  42. It's easy to criticise this stuff from afar. It's harder to be the person in charge of developing a game, where every design decision is coming at the expense of an alternative one. When you're the person making those calls, it's becomes hard to justify doing anything that only a tiny number of people will see/use, when you have hundreds of other features you want to include that everyone will see.

  43. As someone with an auditory processing disorder, it's super hard for me to pick out the beat in a song. So the fixed beat mode was a life saver for me. I ended up loving the game so much that I grinded it for weeks to beat it without fixed beat mode and on permadeath

  44. Thank you Mark for covering this. It's nice to see people actually putting thought into important topics. You're a great person and have a lovely day! 😀

  45. Thank you for spending the time, money and effort to make this video! It's great that you're staying on the topic!
    Great to hear so many improvements having been made this year 🙂

  46. A good video, but not a single word on cognitive accessibility. And it was the most interesting topic for me A bit saddened by the absence of it. Good video nontheless.

  47. I'd love to see more controller remapping in games just for the sake of mapping it how I would like it to be mapped, not because of any disability but because it just feels awkward sometimes with the default settings.

  48. Biased perspective here, but I'm kinda torn on this topic. While I think it's great that this topic is getting more attention and that more developers are making their games more accessible, I wonder if developers should actually feel obligated to make their games more accessible. To give an extreme example, if someone is blind but wants to play video games, should games be made in such a way that those people can play and enjoy them? (unless the game is actually supposed to be about that) I think most people would say no and that there's a line or a balance that should be struck between creative freedom and accessibility. Personally, while I feel bad for those with disabilities, I don't think every developer should feel like they need to make their games more accessible. I think devs should be able to do what they want with their games, but once you go from indie games to triple AAA games you could argue that accessibility becomes more important.

    Ultimately though, I think the best solution is to work on treating people's disabilities in the real world, so they can play games just like people without those disabilities, rather than make the games fit them. I mean what about Virtual Reality? I imagine there are many people who simply can't play a lot of, if any, VR games due to their disabilities. But ideally and hopefully, as humanity progresses and we're able to help those people, everyone will be able to play games and accessibility options will be less necessary. Aside from, of course, things that everyone benefits from, like button remapping, readable fonts etc. Certain accessibility should still be there, but games wouldn't have to worry as much about it.

    But maybe all of that is unrealistic and I'm wrong. But still, I can't help but be a bit split on this.

  49. Difficulty settings shouldn't count towards accessibility for disabled players. You have said yourself in other videos that some games are meant to be hard so it's rewarding. I'm all for color blind modes, sound visualizers and all that but difficulty settings don't need to be updated. Easy, Medium, Hard. Sure some games make jokes like Wolfenstein does but it's not actually patronizing. If you get offended by the language used in the difficulty menu then maybe you're just too sensitive.

  50. I'm a bit sad you didn't seem to touch on cognitive disabilities this time and the accessibility in games for those this year.. I'm autistic and have physical disability, and I was very touched and happy the last time you talked about accesibility for us. I was hoping to hear about this year's progress, but I appreciate the work and passion you've done for the other disabilities. It's still a great video, I was just personally let down a bit.

  51. Really keen to see how many huge steps the industry has taken towards accessibility, but I'm interested to hear you that you would classify difficulty settings as 'accessibility' options. Thinking about it, it seems like it makes sense to label them as such (they make the game accessible to a larger audience) but at the same time I don't necessarily think every game has to be accessible to as large of an audience as possible when it comes to changing things that are fundamental to its design.
    I don't know if a game made to be difficult should necessarily provide ways to make it easier (excluding features accounting for disabilities), Pathologic being one of the first games to come to mind when I think of this. For some games, the atmosphere is highly dependent on the sense of helplessness and powerlessness, so providing options for 'easier' gameplay might become a temptation for some players to circumvent the game's intended difficulty.
    There are also obviously huge issues with difficulty-based accessibility options in multiplayer titles, as doing so naturally provides some players advantages over others.

    I get stuff such as 'Story' mode, like in Outer Worlds, where a narrative-based game (that includes combat because some find it fun) allows you to bypass the combat if you're not the biggest fan. Knowingly designing a game where there are multiple primary features and letting people choose which ones they're interested in makes sense, I think.

    Perhaps I'm going to examples which act as the exception to your rule, and it's just an inevitable consequence of design that some games will simply require a certain sense to play or have their atmosphere ruined by the existence of certain options. Papa Sangre will never be the same without sound, The Return of the Obra Dinn will never be the same without voice lines with ambiguous speakers and incredible visual clues, and Gorogoa will never be playable without visuals. Sometimes the thing that makes a game special makes it inaccessible, but by god is it incredible to see how much effort big studios are putting in to making those that can be accessible accessible.

    Thanks for incredible video Mark, and thanks to the big industry names out there making sure their games can be enjoyed by those less fortunate!

  52. For most of us, these are things we usually don't pay any attention, but it's impressive how game developers pay attention to tiny, yet important things we normally don't appreciate. Man… The amount of effort it takes to make a game.

  53. I think it’s great that 90% of games are very accessible to all. However, Sekiro would have suffered greatly from an easy mode, the shared experience will be completely removed. The sense of accomplishment after beating a boss will be massively reduced.

  54. And as cynical as I am being here, this video is ablist. Best example "I don't know if no sense of rhythm counts as a disability" use I didn't know either until i asked google, and yes beat deafness is a real disability. But still no mention of other more known, and unknown, disabilities. What about flash triggered epilepsy, why no talk about games not having a reduced flash mode, where on screen flashing is reduced, allowing more people with epilepsy to play the game. How are games going to tackle akinetopsia, the inability to perceive motion the way most people do? Sadly this video makes it out as if the presented accessibility features are "for everyone", and by not going into how far gaming, in reality, still has to go, to consider itself truly accessible, this video has failed to be what it sets out to be.

  55. While mention of easy to read fonts, large print, good contrast, distinct shapes, etc. is nice and all for those with lesser visual impairments, and voiced menus is definitely a step in the right direction, I've heard no mention of games that are playable for the totally blind such as myself.

    I'm happy to report that the visual novel Arcade Spirits can be finished totally blind using the self-voicing capabilities of the Renpy Engine, though the one other Renpy game I've tried(Doki Doki Literature Club) didn't seem to work with self-voicing.

    I don't expect action-oriented games to become blind playable anytime soon(tactile displays are pretty much at the level of dot matrix displays with 12*40 being among the highest resolutions available and costing thousands of dollars), but I'd love to be able to once again play a turn-based RPG, whether the battle system has characters standing still across from each other or traversing a grid-based map, or a abstract puzzle game that doesn't have a time constraint and lets the player take their time making moves.

    Bonus points if the game runs natively on Linux or doesn't require a GUI.

  56. It really should be the norm for studios to have an 'Accessibility Team' dedicated to testing and implementing these features when developing games.

  57. 11:29 – DMC5 – Good job / Bad Job.
    Very good – Per Character remapping. Nice touch.
    Very bad – About a quarter of the controls cannot be remapped in game for no good reason at all whatsoever. Also, Menu navigation bindings are dependant on gameplay mappings. Headache out of ten.

  58. 16:47
    While Luigi's Mansion is made in-house, Pokemon isn't as Gamefreak is not owned by Nintendo, so the other control schemes in pokemon was included because gamefreak wanted it in

  59. Personally I had a bad experience with the text in outer worlds and I have no seeing disability, the game was great but the text was much to small. And reading the PC lore was a chore rather than intriguing so I skipped most of it…

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