2014 was an excellent year for games. With the release of new hardware by Sony and Microsoft, at the end of 2013, this year saw developers striving to reach the full potential of the new technology. From the standpoint of accessibility one game stands out as the pinnacle, not only of polish and game play, but also of reasonable accessibility standards for the video game industry. The 2014 DAGERS Diamond Award goes to Bioware’s Dragon Age: Inquisiton, for representing the highest standards of gameplay and accessibility over the past year.
Historically, Open World RPG’s have posed the greatest problem for players with visual disabilities. Dragon Age: Inquisition transcended most of these barriers and made a thoroughly accessible experience by not relying on color and using a stunning art style that made sure that the game did not rely on hard to see details. Beyond this, the fact that they made an easy to read inventory system meant that they side-stepped one of the biggest pitfalls for open world RPGS when it comes to visual accessibility.
Furthermore, Bioware included gamers with fine-motor disabilities by making the game extremely forgiving, which allowed players the freedom to retry difficult encounters without having to retread much of the same ground. Beyond this, Bioware took traditional RPG elements such as character customization and used them in such a way as to make it possible for gamers with disabilities to tailor their character and their experience to their physical needs. In addition, this title also included extensive controller customization which ensured that fine-motor impaired gamers would have full access to the world of Thedas.
Finally, Dragon Age: Inquisition did something for hearing impaired gamers, that I have rarely seen in Open World RPGs. They included multiple options for subtitles, giving players the option to subtitle dialogue and ambient noise, or just the dialogue. This allowed for a deeper level of emersion for hearing impaired gamers, as it gave them the ability to be fully engrossed, not only in the story, but in the world of this game.
Open World RPG’s serve a vital function for disabled gamers around the world, they give players the opportunity to immerse themselves in the game world, and temporarily escape the confines of their disability, and thanks to the folks at Bioware, the world of Inquisition is highly accessible for many players with physical disabilities.