It’s hard to think of any other game that has broken down as many barriers and gaming stereotypes as Naughty Dogs ‘The Last of Us 2’.
At its core, it is quite simply a great game to play, but more than that, the developers seem to have devoted just as much time to make the game as accessible and relatable to those who play the game, as they have on graphics and gameplay mechanics.
Inclusion by Design
Of course, we here at Double Tap are all about the accessibility of tech for people with disabilities, and that’s what primarily brought The Last of Us 2 to our attention.
However, it would do Naughty Dog a disservice not to also mention their commitment to inclusion in the form of their choice of game characters. Despite the ban in certain countries and somewhat vocal backlash from some corners of the internet, Naughty Dogs inclusion of LGBTQ characters, particularly as the main character, is a welcome and also (it seems a ridiculous thing to say in 2020) a brave step that should be recognised and hopefully repeated.
Along with this, there are accessibility options of the game. It’s true that other games have offered some accessibility features before this, but it’s the sheer number of options and just how well thought out they are that takes accessibility in this game to the next level. With over 60 accessibility settings ranging from text to speech for all text such as subtitles and menus, high contrast, remappable keys, directional audio, visual cues and a set of presets for disabilities such as low-vision, hearing-impaired or motor-impairment; this is accessibility done right.
As I steadily lost more and more of my vision, it became harder to enjoy gaming. Having grown up playing games such as Doom, Half Life, Quake, FEAR et al, I really do miss those moments of excitement that a well-crafted game can give you. Of course, as games have continued to mature and grow, with improved graphics, AI, cinematics and storytelling, I’ve always read reviews and announcements with interest but never thought I’d ever really be able to enjoy them. With The Last of Us 2, it feels like accessibility has finally been taken seriously.
As I mentioned above, The Last of Us 2 has been in the news a lot recently, and for differing reasons. However, when it comes to the impact of just how accessible it is and what those options are, I would like to share two videos that I found to be, not only incredibly informative, but also a great insight into how we can enjoy games as visually impaired people.
Secondly, Agon from PS, I’m Blind plays through some of the game using some of the accessibility features.
I’m sure you’ll agree after watching the above videos, truly accessible gaming is not only possible… it may have already arrived.
Co-host & audio producer on the Double Tap Canada radio show. Occasional contributor to Double Tap TV, full time shed resident.