Earlier today Nintendo did not hold a press conference at E3. Instead they hosted a digital event that was aimed at getting gamers hyped for Nintendo releases for the coming year. Here are a few of the juciest tidbits that actually impact game accessibility.
The show opened with an extended look at Star Fox 0. Unfortunately, this was probably the most inaccessible game that I’ve seen on the stage at E3 this year. It will utilize the gyroscope in the Wii U gamepad, requiring players to look through it and pan it from side to side to look around from the inside of Fox’s R-wing. This means that players will have to use the Wii U’s gyroscopic controls, especially if it will be the only way that players can get a non-cinematic view of the battlefield. Although, given star fox’s history, it is reasonable to expect that it will at least be accessible for those with hearing disabilities.
Two new handheld Zelda games were unveiled as part of this year’s Nintendo Digital Event. Triforce Heroes is a co-op experience similar in concept to Four Swords on the Gamecube. Unfortunately however, even though we only had a brief demo, it was still obvious that the game relied heavily on use of the 3DS’ touch pad, and therefore will probably be inaccessible for gamers with fine-motor disabilities. Although if Nintendo holds true to form, Triforce heroes shouldn’t pose many barriers for those with visual or hearing disabilities.
The remastered handheld version of Hyrule Warriors Legends is more of a wild card. None of the Control scheme was actually displayed and it would seem awkward to make a game that is transitioning from the Wii U without relying on touch dependent on the input in its handheld form. We’ll have to wait and see just how accessible Hyrule Warriors Legends as more information about it comes out.
We also got word of a new cooperative Metroid Prime for the 3DS that will feature Blast Ball (which we’ve already talked about). But since little is known beyond the accessible art style, this is another one that we’ll have to wait to check out in the future.
Yokai Watch is a phenomenon in Japan that is a monster collection game similar to pokemon, unfortunately, compared to the barrier-free nature of the Game Freak titles, the brief trailer for Yokai Watch showed extensive use of the 3DS’ touch screen, which seems to indicate that this game will pose significant barriers for some disabled gamers.
Finally, we are getting a new Fire Emblem. These games have historically been barrier free and players can look forward to fully enjoying the experience of Fire Emblem Fates regardless of physical ability if it’s executed in the same way as previous titles.