Naughty Dog‘s game offers a ton of functions to make the game playable for everyone.
Emilia Schatz and Matthew Gallant, two game designers talked about the accessibility with The Verge, revealing why they included so many possibilities. The features cover controller mapping, visual aids, audio clues, navigation and traversal features, and combat features. You can increase the size of the UI, make changes to subtitles, turn on a text-to-speech (TTS) option for every piece of text in the game including menus, audio cues to indicate nearby items or ledges, a zoom feature using the DualShock 4‘s touchpad, and a „high-contrast” mode for low-vision players that renders the world alight grey with enemies in red and allies in blue.
Gallant says these features were planned ever since the game’s development started, although a few of them (the high-contrast mode, the TTS, and the mappable controls) had required significant technical resources. Some of the features had been changed massively as the game’s development progressed, due to feedback from focus testers. Initially, Naughty Dog planned to have the game modes separated for users with different accessibility needs (hearing impaired, motor control assistance).
„Instantly we got feedback that ‘this is not what we want -we want to be able to dig into the menus, fine-tune things, adjust things, really get into the nitty-gritty of what these options mean’” Gallant said. This is why the game has a packed accessibility menu with toggles and sliders for each feature. However, there will be a few preset categories (vision, hearing) to avoid getting overwhelmed. „Accessibility for us is about removing barriers that are keeping players from completing a game. It’s not about dumbing down a game or making a game easy. What do our players need to play the game in parity with everyone else?”, Schatz said.
Gene Park, who writes for The Washington Post, wrote the following on Twitter: „I have a first model PlayStation 4 Pro. Its vents are clean. During The Last of Us Part II, the fans are louder than my air-conditioning unit. They were so loud I had to raise the volume up on my speakers. Even when I knocked it down to 1080p mode.” Wow, looks like the game will use every ounce of performance of the console.
The Last of Us Part II launches on June 19, exclusively on PlayStation 4 (until they announce a PlayStation 5 version). The review embargo will be lifted on June 12, at 12:01 AM PDT. A TV spot has also arrived.
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