Japanese game studios are taking accessibility to the next level

The EA’s support is crucial, not only in making recommendations, but also in fine-tuning sometimes troublesome settings. Edagawa notes that the development of specific features and designs, although they were incorporated at the earliest stages, sometimes contradicted some aspects of the design. Wild Heart. However, since they are a core component of accessibility, the developers have been continuously working to make their games playable for players with disabilities.

“The most difficult feature to implement is support for color blindness,” says Edagawa. “Since this is a basic accessibility feature, we took care from the beginning of the development to ensure that the UX is not dependent on color. However, there are times when the use of different colors is unavoidable or it is easier to distinguish by color even though it can be distinguished by other factors. We keep tweaking the color blind assist features until the very last minute.”

Tango game

Hi-Fi Rush was unexpectedly released in January to much critical acclaim. Players find rhythmic combat unique and enjoyable, and those with disabilities have access to a variety of settings that help reduce burnout, such as Auto Action Mode and difficulty settings . And this attention to accessibility is not new. Since the company released in 2014 The evil in me, the developers at Tango Gameworks worked to make accessibility a core design principle. For John Johanas, Hi-Fi Rush is the culmination of years of efforts to welcome players with disabilities.

“This trend started in the US, where we saw the effort put in accessibility and showed that it’s not about destroying your gaming experience but just allowing people to enjoy it,” says Johanas. enjoy the experience you are trying to create.” “As we evolved—and this was pre-Microsoft, at least for the Hi-Fi Rush—we have two accessibility things that we used to reach the headline. One is accessibility settings in the menu, which you can control and enable if you want to play in a particular way. The other is about making the experience itself accessible.”

Hi-Fi Rush currently offering a many accessibility settings such as subtitles, custom controls, colorblind modes, and even options for rhythm visualization. But the options alone are not enough for many disabled players. Johanas noted that he and the developers looked to studios like Naughty Dog and Insomniac Games for inspiration, but that including a large number of options was not feasible for this particular title. Instead, his team needs to ensure that the game remains accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing in the absence of extended features.

“So we said, what can we do on the visual side of things to assist players who have trouble determining rhythms or are generally hard of hearing,” said Johanas. “We looked at how to interpret things, such as how many types of captions were used to interact with the character as visually as possible, and studied every aspect of that image, such as like the UI, to make it look like that. There are so many different ways people can interpret rhythm, even if they can’t hear it.”

These design settings and practices are not easy to implement. Johanas and his team wanted to strike a balance between providing assistance while still providing a fun challenge for players with disabilities. Thankfully, Tango Gameworks has received additional support from the ZeniMax Media accessibility team. Through their own extensive knowledge and resources, as well as testers with disabilities, Hi-Fi Rush Launched in a playable state and continues to evolve in patches.


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