PS5 User Experience
The PlayStation 5 release is fast approaching, but Sony has been tight lipped about new accessibility features coming to the console until now. Recently, they presented a first look at the new console’s user experience (UX). This was mainly to showcase the PlayStation 5 home screen and the Control Center, but they also introduced a new feature called Activites. These are on-screen cards activated when you press the PlayStation button in the Control Center. They let you go back to things you missed in a game, jump directly into levels you’ve completed, and even get hints to help you solve certain puzzles. The latter seems to be reserved for those with a PlayStation Plus account. It’s unclear whether Activities were designed with disabled gamers in mind, but both the fine motor impaired and those with cognitive disorders will certainly benefit from the customization of these features. Look forward to more accessibility news as we get closer to the PlayStation 5 release in November!
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Ubisoft released a new interview talking about the accessibility in their new Assassin’s Creed entry. They go into a lot of detail and explain what features help different disabilities. There are accessibility features in the game for the fine motor impaired like completely customizable controls, the ability to toggle buttons rather than hold them down, and a slider for the vibration intensity. There is even a new feature for those who have trouble with assassinations, something called a “Guaranteed Assassination” which helps you kill the target regardless of its level. Also, there is a narration mode designed for the visually impaired which guides the player through in-game menus. What’s great is you can customize the volume of the narration as well. I was particularly impressed with their dedication to completely blind players, enabling the option to warn the player if they get stuck on something in the game world. It’s a really interesting read and it gets me excited to play the finished product!
Sports games are notorious for having limited controls, but FIFA 21 hopes to change that by adding more accessibility options than the previous games ever did. In any soccer game there is a lot going on visually, so FIFA 21 lets you customize the HUD which includes the ability to double the size of player indicators. Also, there are colorblind options available for three different kinds of color blindness: Protanopia, Deuteranopia, and Tritanopia. For those with fine-motor impairments, there are remappable buttons like being able to switch the left control stick for the trigger buttons. Subtitles can be turned on for the dialogue in story mode, but unfortunately there are no subtitles for the commentary. It’s not perfect, but I’m glad to see EA take the necessary steps to make their game more accessible for all players.