Santa Monica Studio lead UX designer Mila Pavlin has detailed the accessibility features of God of War: Ragnarok in a new PlayStation blog to celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day.
The blog post highlights a selection of the 60+ accessibility options in upcoming games designed to meet players’ needs, ranging from improvements to subtitles and captions to text and icon sizes, and more. Again. Accessibility features in any game are an important part of ensuring everyone can enjoy an experience, and it’s nice to see SMS highlighting these options in a dedicated blog post.
“Not only have we redesigned our UI to allow for more flexibility and readability, but we’ve also rebuilt controller remapping from the ground up and added more customization to our combat and interaction systems,” Pavlin writes in the blog post. “We’ve kept all of our accessibility features from God of War from 2018 and expanded them to include over 60 ways to tweak gameplay to suit your style and needs.”
Here’s a breakdown of the accessibility features highlighted in Pavlin’s blog post:
There are four accessibility features returning from the PC version of God of War to Ragnarok:
- Sprint Auto Sprint: This not only allows you to press the stick forward once to auto sprint, but also sets the duration of its duration.
- Persistent dot (always on reticle): This keeps a reticle on screen at all times for those who need it or for those who need an extra focus point to reduce motion sickness.
- Aiming Style: This allows players to choose to use aiming stance or enable/disable aiming stance.
- block style: You can choose to maintain or activate/deactivate the position of the shield.
Here are Ragnarok’s new accessibility features:
Improvements to subtitles and captions
- Size of subtitles and captions: SMS has increased its minimum text size and added new scaling options, including extra-large text size. The game will also have a larger text box to match TV and movie subtitle standards.
- Colors of subtitles and captions: Players can now adjust the colors of speaker names, body text of subtitles and captions individually. There will be seven colors to choose from.
- Speakers names: As in God of War, you can show or hide speaker names and you can set this size independent of the UI text size.
- Legends: SMS added several new ways to understand game sounds, writes Pavlin. The studio added subtitles to cutscenes and gameplay “to provide a rich understanding of the world’s soundscape.” Players can also turn on subtitles for critical game information to aid in puzzles and narrative understanding.
- Subtitles and captions background blur: SMS has included options to blur the background behind subtitles and captions to make them easier to read.
- Subtitle background: As in God of War, there will be options to darken the background behind the subtitles for better readability on snow. The high contrast media also includes several opacity settings.
- direction indicator: Critical in-game sounds will now have an optional direction indicator that indicates the direction a sound is coming from. Additionally, to help puzzles that have sound cues, this indicator will help orient you to the source of a large sound, writes Pavlin.
Text and icon size
“The much-requested feature from God of War (2018) is back and better than ever,” writes Pavlin. “You asked for a comfortable reading experience when gaming from a sofa, so we listened. With a completely redesigned and responsive user interface, and a larger minimum text size that can scale significantly, text reading screen is easier than ever.
Here is a preview of SMS UI text scaling default and XX-Large for reference (the first image is the default):
And here are two examples of in-game icon scaling – the first image shows the smaller icon and the second image shows the larger one:
“We’ve rebuilt our controller remapping system to allow you to customize your button layout in God of War: Ragnarok,” Pavlin wrote. “There will be a wide range of preset layouts, as well as custom controller remapping support. Individual buttons can be swapped and, to select complex actions, you can choose other configurations from a predefined list. We’ve got you covered with multiple ways to customize your experience for certain actions that require more than one button, including touchpad shortcuts for things like Spartan Rage, Navigation Assist, and Quick Turn.
High contrast mode
Pavlin says Ragnarok’s new high-contrast color mode allows players to apply color to in-game objects like targets, enemies, and other characters, in addition to object types. When this option is active, color will be applied to the object or character to make them more visible against the background. You can also optionally desaturate the background to further increase this effect.
- High contract activation customization: You can select off, on or always on for gameplay only (this will exclude cutscenes). High contrast mode can be set to turn on and off with a swipe for easy access. This mode will automatically turn off when you’re in a settings menu or character menu, writes Pavlin.
- High Contrast Color Customization: You can select a color palette that matches your play style and also adjust the individual colors of characters, enemies and objects.
- High Contrast Background Customization: You can individually select the halftone or darkened background contrast levels.
Additional accessibility features
- Help with navigation: This camera navigation system is new for Ragnarok and it allows players to orient the view towards the current objective on the compass. When you’re not in combat, you can press the navigation assist button to direct your view to the next story objective.
- Travel assistance: You can now automate gap jump, vault, mantle, and other traversal functions in a specific direction you press.
- Support+: This setting adds interaction-based movements, such as climbs, crawls, and level crossings.
- Audio cues:Pavlin says that SMS has “linked a beep to each of the on-screen ‘interaction’ prompts so that when using this feature you can hear when an interaction icon is nearby, as well only when the button prompt becomes active”. These cues also extend to unblockable attack rings, aim cues, and weapon switch cues, and the volume of the individual cues can be adjusted independently of each other.
“We are committed to improving accessibility and personalization for everyone,” writes Pavlin. “We look forward to giving you details on our other categories of accessibility features such as combat/aiming aids, puzzle/minigame aids, HUD tweaks, camera tuning, auto-detect, and much more.We are very grateful for all the support from our accessibility consultants and the greater accessibility community for sharing their thoughts on making God of War: Ragnarok the most accessible God of War ever. of all time. We look forward to sharing more with you as we get closer to launch.
While we wait to find out more, read how Amazon is reportedly developing a live-action God of War series, then read how God of War: Ragnarok’s delay could be due to an actor’s surgery. Check out this amazing vintage God of War comic book cover created by a former Rockstar Games illustrator after this.
What excites you most about Ragnarok? Let us know in the comments below!
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