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. 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


  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. hello! i am a completely blind gamer. i try play different games, different genres. i try to find possibility to play blind people more and more games. strategies(warcraft 3, lotr battle for middle earth 1 and 2), shooters, fighting, some RPG's. if i could help to make games more accessible, i will very glad. now i find shooters with very good aim assist (COD black ops 4 for example and GTA 5), rpg's with good navigation for example diablo III for consoles, strategies with hotkeys for creating units,buildings and ETC. it was veery interesting video, thank you!

  3. This isn't exactly a disability, but my mom has never been able to deal with video games because she gets motion sick from the camera movement. I showed her Untitled Goose Game, and between the stable camera and the visual storytelling, she really enjoyed it. Are there any games that offer a stable camera for people who experience motion sickness?

  4. "Game still use serif fonts instead of sans serif fonts for their subtitles." I´m looking at you, Phoenix Wright Trilogy HD. All of the original DS games had a sans serif font for the dialogues, and were repleaced with a serif font for the HD remaster. So much for being an improved version of an old game. Capcom is lazy.

  5. I have osteoarthritis in my hands. This causes a real mind/hand coordination problem. You should look at Warfaces customization it's very similar to Apex and Borderlands.Unfortunately I haven't a clue on how or what to adjust. During pVp I do horrible due to my reaction time. I really want to play Battlefield games online but I constantly get slaughtered. Any advice?

  6. Why are quick time events even still a thing in 2019? Has anyone (other than the game developers themselves) ever enjoyed quick time events? Really?

  7. Difficulty shouldn't be something sacrificed for "accessibility". Sure things like fonts and colors, go ahead. There are already plenty of disabled people who have been able to complete games like Sekiro or even blind people who play fighting games on a competitive level far better then most normals, therefore proving difficulty isn't a needed sacrifice especially not when difficulty is part of the games core design. Sacrificing difficulty is just a way to put yourself above the disabled people and telling them "hey look how moral I am, I want to make a easy option for you". But at this point, we all know why people want a easy mode in games. It's so game journos who don't play games can play them

  8. While I agree that accessibility is an important factor for many games, I also think that it's okay if some games are not accessibile to some players if making the accessibile would go against major design features. For example if a game's main selling point is that it is really hard to beat, I think it's fine if it does not have an easy mode even if that means that some/most people will never be able to play it.

  9. at first i agreed sekiro didn't need an easy mode, until i played it and discovered you couldn't just go to another area and level up like darksouls or use secret areas to avoid certain enemies

  10. Look I always get nervous if I can't rebind controls because I just know I'm gonna break my keyboard or something and won't be able to play anymore if I break any of my WASD lol. Accessibility controls are so useful for everyone!

  11. I watched the whole series of gaming and disabilities.I'm not deaf but I'm wearing hearing aids since I was 6 and even with 31 it's damn hard to fully understand without subtitles or anything else even if you can wear the premium hearing aids like I did just for the job as a hearing aid acoustician. normaly I got some standard hearing aids which got just the minimum of requirements where the health insurance got to pay for but the better hearing aids you've got to pay a lot of that's all good to see that kind of review 🙂 your slide joe bob 😀

  12. Once again, yet another amazingly done video from you, Mark! Just one note: I really prefer that companies release accesibility options later through a patch than not releasing any at all. You also need to understand that game companies want to make money, and adding accesibility options takes a lot of time and effort just so a few more people can buy the game, so it's not super profitable to add accesibility options. I know people will get angry at me for saying that, but it's true. Adding accesibility options should be optional and game companies should be free to decide whether or not to include them, and never be forced to add them. I'm grateful whenever they add them though.

  13. I find subtitles helpful in being able to consistently make out what people are saying. So it is very frustrating when a game does not have them.

  14. I feel like the first and last sessions of the video were the weakest, thus they marred my perception of the rest? Like, I came in slightly disagreeing with it, and came out slightly disagreeing with it, even if I was on board for the middle 17 minutes.
    I dislike the example of RE2 being unfriendly to HOH players because it implies there is a way to convey its audio-cues to have the same effect that Capcom could have easily implemented. At least I, not a game developer, don't see one. Mr. X's footsteps are supposed to incur a sense of dread and uncertainty that don't translate well to text, like the motion of running doesn't translate well to a single frame. It's the combination of audio and visual feedback that makes the effect work — not knowing exactly where Mr. X is, but drawing from your understanding of how sound works to know where he could be, and that he's somewhere out there actively looking for you. Simply having HL2-style subtitles saying [Footsteps somewhere] doesn't have the same intended effect.
    Which is to say, intended play here is to be afraid of a sound. The fact that there's no equivalent in the options, in my opinion, is less a diss against the game, and more just a consequence of the type of game Resident Evil 2 is. Playing the game with the sound off still allows you to have proper encounters with Mr. X, since the sound of his footsteps isn't exactly crucial to beat him, or to run away from him. It's way more about atmosphere.
    I'm not just being defensive and shilling for a game that I like, I'm saying that a lot of the examples of the video are much more valid because they're paired with examples of things that deal with similar situations in good and bad ways, yet no time is spent explaining what exactly is RE2 supposed to do to convey vague sound effects that only really work because they're presented with no other cues if not by using sound-only.
    Running the risk of sounding like a giant prick, John Blow did an interview for The Witness about the puzzle-making process, and there was a lot of concern about whether certain people would be able to solve some puzzles. He eventually decided that it wasn't his job to think about the most accessible kind of game he could possibly make, but rather, what kind of game he could make, and once he'd made it, how could he make it as easy as possible to engage with it. Some of The Witness's puzzles are, appropriately enough, sound-based, and I don't remember the subtitles being any help for those. HOH players can probably not finish them either, but offering subtitle cues for those puzzles specifically would probably just spoil the answer.

    I assume that from the tone of this video and your old video about Celeste's Assist Mode, one of the possible answers for the conundrum is, well, then don't make the puzzle. Design games from the ground-up so that they always allow for the maximum number of people to interact with them, and steer away from designs that inherently exclude certain people that may or may not end up wanting to play your game. That way, the game comes out, and everyone is happy.
    But I like the sound puzzles. And the sound cues. And certain colors. And, I don't know, the English language, which I had to learn to play video games, since a lot of them still aren't translated to my mother tongue. I understand the core of your argument doesn't inherently mean that I will lose any of those things, but I do feel like it can mean that I wouldn't get puzzles like The Witness's anymore, despite being capable of experiencing them, specifically because someone else might not be.

    I don't know if the point makes sense, but it jumped out at me when the RE2 section was over.

  15. isn't that ironic that most stale genre (mmo) has the most robust GUI customization, some thru addons but some have all built in editor.

  16. Spyro's lack of subtitles bothered me too. I eventually found them (on PS4) but only if you force subtitles on your profile settings because there's no option in-game.

  17. Thank you so much for this video. Every time I watch your accessibility videos I find I have tears in my eyes. It is personal for me. I am glad we are working towards a more inclusive future.

  18. AC Odessy would be good if the enemies weren't fucking bullet sponges. Despite the updates they couldn't fix that, even in easy mode. AC origins did combat and leveling better. The vast amount of missions would be more bearable if it wasn't tedious combat despite your high level. And no insta kill with headshots… HEAD SHOTS. People played for a while then left.
    AC Odessy needed an accessibility overhaul. Just my opinion.

  19. How in 2019, games still don't have custom controls is beyond me. Devs should be punished for that. And dang, you played Heaven's Vault? And Eagle Island? Mad props.

    Also of note, 2019 rolled out a new mandatory policy for all new games that have in-game mic feature to also have a subtitle translator. And vice versa – text to in-game digital voice. That's why Apex had that feature. …And why Anthem didn't.

  20. I'm wondering if he will cover the increase in elitism in gaming over the years. I can't be the only one who doesn't appreciate the move toward all digital gaming, "always on" gaming styles, and the ABSOLUTE NEED for an internet connection to play modern games, console ones especially. This is a real issue for those of us who live in more rural places that don't have access to high speed internet connection.

  21. I have no disability but I hate being forced to press buttons like a maniac during QTE or to shoot faster.
    With the Steam Controller I can tweak the settings to have turbo buttons.

  22. 这集的角度超级赞👍。 西方文明的代表厂商们,正从文化平等走向科技界的「人人可及」的 accessibility~

  23. Thank you for this. The research and effort that goes into these videos is really something else, and I know it sets a great set of standards for developers.
    Regarding Sekiro, I knew what was coming when I saw the thumbnail, but glad you addressed the positive side as well.
    From's games have a long way to come in terms of general accessibility options, but Sekiro shows some improvement (control remapping). I did feel it was slightly disingenuous to claim the game was "missing key features" when it wasn't designed as an RPG (stat leveling) or built around online play (like the Souls games). It's also important to note that playing Souls online is a double-edged sword, opening you up to invasions, etc. which can result in a far more grueling experience. I'm not saying Sekiro is a shining example of accessibility in modern games; just that the difficulty argument is a bit more nuanced than this video makes it out to be.

  24. Most people keep subtitles on if they're on by default?
    Wow, it's almost like most people assume that's the way the game was meant to be experienced or something, not that everyone's hard of hearing and prefers reading

  25. Thank you for putting this video out. I am a legally blind gamer and it gets exceptionally frustrating sifting through games and struggling to find something accessible. Font adjusters and screen readers would make a world of difference in my life and I wouldn't experience the constant limitations I currently do in gaming.

    I truly appreciate the amount of effort you put into this.

  26. I like what he's doing for people with disabilities but it feels preachy how he acts like the ambassador of the disabled. Then he proceeds to judge developers who didn't go out of their way to cater to every disability that exists. Not everyone has the time, budget or a game that can implement such change, especially with difficulty options. Nevertheless it's a good video

  27. I always support the addition of more customization like button mapping and font changes but difficulty modes shouldn't exist. If a developer wants to make a game accessible to a minority (which is in no way required or should be expected) they can, but difficulty modes discard the core experience of the game. The argument that they're just options and don't effect players who play on the default modes could be made, but options that impair the game shouldn't be included just for the sake of having options.

  28. I don't see a big issue if some indie title like Cuphead isn't "designed for disability". It's not a bus stop. They didn't "drop the ball". The real solution is for colorblind people to either use some software that changes colors they can't see to ones they can, or to find games that work for them. I'm sure there are games a fully-blind person can play, but it doesn't mean every game needs time put into that.

  29. From what I understand, Super Mario Maker 2 also improved its motor accessibility in the editor – it moved the select/erase modes from being held buttons to being toggled. It's just a shame that Nintendo still haven't managed to do the same in the play mode – a toggle option for "Y to run" would also be appreciated, for instance.

  30. Giving any auditory clues for Mr X is gonna kill the scary part. There never should be any auditory aids for such occasions. Period. Why not instead tell such players to try out gamepads and maybe rely on vibrations?

  31. Accessiblility is obviously good when it doesnt diminish the experience but in cases like Lets go pikachu(i dont even like the game) it doesnt make sense to complain about you having to throw a Pokeball manually.

    Another thing ofcause is Sekiro and difficult games in general, where difficulty mode would weaken the community and experience. Im colorblind myself so i know the frustration of not being able to see something in a game but when it affects game(play) design and not just visuals accessible isnt good anymore.

  32. It's not related to this video, but I suggest you to try Streets of Rogue. It has a come great concepts you talk about (systems, great AI, personalized difficulty etc.) and other that could be interesting to talk about. Plus, it's a painfully underrated game.

    It's kind of a mission based rogue-lite GTA in which you have to take the place of the corrupt mayor by any means you want: to win, you can go Rambo, go pacifist, go stealthy, get a lot of money, making sure you everyone loves you and more.

    I think the variety could interest you: characters, equipment, mission, layout of the building/town, almost infinite way to succeed a mission, mutators to change things in your run, etc.

    There's also a very great pacing with a special event each 3rd floor (such as a Zombi apocalypse and periodic random status effects) which forces you to think fast and not plan everything.

    It's an incredible game, please check it out. I've spent 100h on it and I still find new ways to succeed and new actions to do. I didn't even try the mutators yet

  33. Thank you for reinforcing this concept. English is my second language, and I can't stand games that contain very small subtitles and UI text, more penalty if the conversations are also too fast and unable to pause between sentences.

  34. After how obnoxious from fans acted about difficulty settings, I really appreciate you pointing out sekiro's problem here, the game wouldn't be hurt from having more options, not just easier, but harder as well, a lot of that game becomes a pushover after you get the hang of the combat.

  35. Your videos are awesome as always . But can you describe how the second person games will look !?. Games are mostly 1st person and 3rd person view .

  36. Not to mention Sword and Shield's glaring accessibility option. You don't get to access half of the pokedex until you buy the next game.

  37. In the case of RE2 i think players without auditory disabilities would be losing something by having visual feedback from monsters/Mr. X. But it should have the option.

  38. I feel like with Sekiro you know what you're getting into. If you go into Sekiro expecting a something easy, that's on you.

  39. Hey unpopular statement warning here. But i think its unrealistic for videogames and their developers to cater to all the different kinds of dissabilities. Don't get me wrong i think it would be great if everyone could enjoy all video games, but in the same way deaf people dont usually opt to compose music and become speech instructors, they probably wont opt to play videogames much either. And neither the music industry, education system or videogame industry in these examples are going to prioritize these people's experience because of it. It sucks but i think thats just tye reality of it. I will say videogames unlike the other examples i gave, are in a better position and are more well equipped to help people with dissabilities enjoy their product. However i just dont see developers putting as much thought into this kinda stuff and i honestly dont blame them. Its something i hadnt even considered till watching this video. But things like inverted controls, clchanging the color for color blind peoeple, and skip quick time events should be a must in all games.

  40. Borderlands 3 has really small text in a lot of its menus and that isn't adjustable on console. The HUD scale option doesn't seem to be there either, unfortunately. Weird they'd have it on one platform and not another.

  41. TotalBiscuit would be ecstatic at the effortyou've put I to this video on accessability options! Options are important!

  42. This is such a wonderful effort. Players do not have one shape, thus programmers shouldn't have a one-size-fits-all mindset. Thank you for the time, energy, and resources you put into this series!

  43. The tape isn’t the only indicator for damage in Death Stranding. You can check them in the menu. I exclusively check through the menu because it’s hard to tell just how damaged things are based on a color gradient

  44. I gotta say, accessibility is nice and all but only if it doesn't restrict gameplay design
    Not everyone can do everything and that's fine, there's more than enough games out there and everyone can find some that they can play

  45. Thanks for emphasizing the issue. This year has got to be the year of unreadable font sizes. After Outer Worlds, Death Stranding and Children of Morta, I am really tired of squinting my eyes. 😩

  46. I think it would be fair to mention Age Of Empires 2 – Definitive Edition, since it's extremely accessible with numerous options for sound, voice, color and controls. Great video! 😁

  47. 'In FIFA 20 the commentators don't have subtitles'…..well of course they bloody don't because you've got to be involved with the actual gameplay that's going on constantly, so you can't afford to be distracted, deaf or not. I'm not sure if they have it in the Alex Hunter story mode thing (which of course I'd think they should have it), not into that series anymore, but for the commentary during an actual match it'd be stupid to have them.
    "avant-garde Postman Pat episode, Death Stranding" best description I've heard yet haha!

  48. Sekiro actually has a tutorial and pauses pve while messing around in the inventory. Just started playing ds series this past year–sekiro is much more forgiving: it IS the easy mode (for a fromsoft game)

  49. In terms of control remapping the speedrunner Halcoordinated, who only plays with one hand, has managed to get number 1 ranks in multiple games that let him control map. It's downright impressive.

  50. Hey thanks for making this video. I had never really considered accessibility in gaming for people with disabilities before seeing this. Video games can be a wonderfully enjoyable pastime that everyone, whether disabled or not, should be able to enjoy. I now have a greater appreciation for games and developers that include these options. Personally, it is important to me to be able to remap a game's controls to the way I want it.

  51. 14:09 tbh, I like that kind of details, is fun, I want to make my own videogames and I want to add multiple difficulty options, the main options are normal, easy and hard and none of them make fun of the player like it, but I want to add a "super easy" mode with that feature where the enemies not only are easier, but some of them make a simple joke, maybe a pose, and then kill themselves while laughing.

  52. 14:57 Well, I don't see that option as an "accessible option" is more like a new mode, there is a mobile game called Shattered Pixel Dungeon where you play exactly like that and is really hard to win.

  53. I just want to point out that you're the biggest voice I've seen championing these accessibility issues, and I think what you're doing is extremely important. It's clear how expansive your critical lens was for 2019's games, and all of that work isn't unappreciated. Thank you for videos like these. <3

  54. My wife and I both have trouble with Death Stranding's microscopic text; especially sitting 6-10 feet away from the TV. Another candidate for squint-em-up of the year would be Dragon Quest Builders 2, especially on the Switch. Most of the in-game explanations and descriptions live in a tiny window on an already small screen.

  55. The industry will not "tackle" accessibility unless there is a financial/artistic reason to do so. Game companies are supposed to make fun games that are financial successes to perpetuate the industry as a whole. Accessibility will always be a business decision and not a moral one.

    In fact, game difficulty is an accessibility issue in itself as well as skill ceilings. And these are for non-disabled folks 🙂

    It's always interesting to see what options game companies give though.

  56. You talk about accessibility in Ghost Recon: Breakpoint as though more people being able to play that game would be a good thing.

  57. Regarding the discussion of whether a lack of rhythm counts as a disability, I have a tic disorder, and one of my tics involves clenching my muscles and needing to press my fingers against things in certain ways. This makes it really hard for me to maintain rhythms with my hands or feet, and it's always held back my ability to play instruments or play rhythm games. I haven't played Cadence of Hyrule yet, but I definitely would love to try the more accessible mode.

  58. As a person living with a physical disability, you are doing God's work by making this video. I also have a hard time playing FPS but, call of duty does it best with toggle aim and the ability to use the bumpers for shooting rather than triggers. I love resident evil but playing it on the switch is a nightmare because there's no toggle aim or the ability to flip triggers. I am a die hard Monster hunter fan and one great thing they did for Monster Hunter Generation Ultimate on switch is that they give you the option to run with the left stick rather than the R bumper. Also for those who also love Resident evil, play it on steam because, Steam games you the option to toggle aim and to remapping all bottons on any Xinput controllers you use.

  59. I’m pretty sure that Pokémon games since Diamond and Pearl have been playable with one hand but like only if that hand is your left hand lmao. It’s great that you can now play it with only your right hand

  60. 15:57 You just said it yourself, in a year where so many games try to be accessible, what's wrong with a title that goes the other way, something for those players who WANT a grindy and challenging game? Not every game needs to cater to every audience; that's the fun with the large variety of games coming out every year.
    Great video besides that, people with disabilities are finally getting the recognition they've needed from game developers.

  61. Even as an abled player, I've always been frustrated at the lack of feature options in most games. It's a small amount of additional effort on the developer's part that goes a long way toward allowing me to play exactly how I want.

  62. I know its not really the focus of the video but I don't think its entirely a bad thing to have games like Sekiro that have fewer options. Mostly because of the culture of the game. Fromsoft have built a reputation on difficult games with no way to make them easier, if you suddenly add a bunch of options for games like that it can really dull the experience for anyone else playing them. Can you simply ignore these options as an able bodied player? Sure but, especially for the hardcore, the feeling that someone else got to where you got with an (for lack of a better word) easy mode isn't great. It would be akin to attempting a World first raid in an MMO and losing out to a team that didn't have to do certain mechanics or were able to have infinite spell casting. It doesn't directly effect your enjoyment of the content within the game, but it effects the feeling of success for actually completing the content. And sure, alienating the Hard Core players in that way isn't as bad as alienating other players but at the same time it is still alienating. As I said at the start, I just don't see an issue with having a difficult game that is difficult for the sake of being difficult and challenging.

  63. You've reminded me of my hate for the decision to have dodge and cover mapped to the same button in Uncharted. Anyhow, great video on a somewhat forgotten topic.

  64. A feature I loved in Control (which I had never seen in any game before) is a separate setting for rendering resolution and interface resolution. It may not have to do with accessibility, but as someone who has to lower resolution in some games to be able to run them, I really appreciated it, as there is so much to read in that game and it's really hard to do so in lower resolutions

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