Yesterday Ubisoft unveiled a release date, and details for the upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate. While we don’t know much about the game, we do know that it is set in London during the industrial revolution, and that players will more then likely be able to play as Jacob and Evie Frye, a brother and sister assassin team.
Beyond this little is known about the game, but there are several things Ubisoft could do to make sure that Assassin’s Creed syndicate is the most accessible title in the AC line. With that in mind, We’ve outlined the top 5 things Ubisoft needs to do to ensure the accessibility of Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate.
5: Eliminate the reliance on color.
This is the easiest thing that Ubisoft could do because they would only have to do it in one area of the game. If they made it so that the eagle vision did not only use the current color system, but also gave clear labels to which NPCs are targets, which are guards, and which are civilians, it would make the game much more accessible for gamers with vision impairments.
4: Do better on subtitling.
Assassin’s Creed games have always been a very story driven experience, and they have always featured adequate cutscene subtitling. The problem arises when trying to determine what NPC’s are saying outside of the main story. This problem was magnified in Unity, because players had the option to receive sidequests by listening to the idle chatter of NPC’s that wasn’t subtitled. Beyond this, because the gameplay in Assassin’s Creed relies on knowing when you are spotted by the guards or causing too much of a commotion, properly subtitling the response of the crowd and clearly communicating the alertness level of the guards, is critical to making the game barrier free for those with hearing impairments.
3: Don’t repeat the mistakes of AC Unity.
Asassin’s Creed Unity attempted to bring new features into the Assassin’s Creed franchise. unfortunately, Ubisoft added these features without considering how they would affect the accessibility of the title. For example, the afformentioned subtitling problem was exacerbated by new features that let Arno interact with the crowd and the new leveling up system meant that players with all types of disabilities were not given all of the tools that they would need to compensate for their limitations at the beginning of the game. It is hoped that when Syndicate is released, if there are new features added, they won’t be shoehorned in, but rather integrated into the game in such a way that at least some thought was given to how they might affect Syndicate’s accessibility.
2: Controller Customization.
A lack of controller customization has plagued the Assassin’s Creed franchise since its original release in 2007. Close to 10 years on and Ubisoft still hasn’t added any level of controller customization that would make the game much more accessible for players with fine-motor impairments. It might be too much to hope for, but if Syndicate had remappable controls, it would automatically be the most accessible Assassin’s Creed game in the history of the franchise.
1: Bring back multiplayer.
In a very unexpected announcement, Ubisoft revealed that there would be no multiplayer in Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, this is a real shame, because the gaming landscape is dominated by multiplayer experiences that require twitch based reflexes and the Assassin’s Creed multiplayer represented something different. A format where even players with severely slowed reflexes could compete and excel against able-bodied players by carefully thinking through and executing plans that would net high amounts of points for style rather than number of kills. There have been a few less then exceptional Assassin’s Creed titles, but I have always loved them because of the multiplayer, and without that the number one reason that fine-motor disabled gamers would purchase Syndicate is gone.