Deaf Game Review – Fortnite

Deaf Game Review – Fortnite

Courtney Craven3 minute read

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Fortnite Deaf Accessibility

Individual scores

  • Visual Representation of Dialogue - 10
  • Visual Representation of Sound - 10
  • Visual Cues - 10
  • Controller Vibration - 10
  • Visually Engaging - 10
  • Player Communication - 10

Game reviewed on Xbox One and PS4.

You know what? I’m just going to go ahead and say it. Fortnite is a goddamn masterpiece. That’s it. That’s the accessibility review right there. It’s perfect, go get it.

But I suppose you came here for more, huh?

Well then…In 2017, my partner Susan reviewed Fortnite Save the World closed beta, well before Battle Royale was a thing and found it to be nearly perfect. You can read her original review here:

With the addition of subtitle appearance options, I think I can safely say Fortnite has some of the best deaf/hoh accessibility. Even more so if you consider the type of game it is (open world shooters and Battle Royale style games can be incredibly difficult for deaf/hoh players). The few times I’ve tried PUBG, the only shot I had at staying alive as a hard of hearing player is to find a cluttered corner and hide in it for as long as I can because thanks to PUBG’s lack of sound visualization of any kind at all, I had no idea another player was near me until they were shooting me.

Fortnite introduced sound visualization quite a while ago and it makes a tremendous difference.

Visualize sound effects option.

And they’ve fixed the previously annoying gotcha in the game where turning this feature on would mute the game. Before it was an all or nothing choice. Now you can have sound visualization and sound!

Sound visualization indicating a nearby loot chest.
Sound visualization indicating footsteps and gunshots.

There’s visualization for every essential sound in the game too. There’s visualization for treasure chests, visualization for footsteps/running, visualization for gunfire. And it all tells you the approximate direction and distance too, along with icons and colors unique to each sound type. They make such a tremendous difference that I was able to come in 5th in two games where in PUBG I die nearly instantly every single time.

But let’s talk about those gorgeous subtitles in Save the World! They’re just perfect!

Largest subtitle option.

The image above shows the subtitles at their largest size, with a drop shadow for contrast, and the background at half opacity. While there are no speaker labels in the subtitles, there’s also an image in the top corner of who is speaking.

Subtitle option with no outline.

You can select from white or yellow for text color, there are five options for background opacity, five size options, and three text border options. You can pretty much customize your subtitles to your heart’s content so you never miss a single bit of dialogue.

All the good things Susan mentioned in her closed beta review are still good too. There’s still accessible chat, and the minimap and minimap icons are still amazingly helpful.

There’s not even anything for me to nit pick about Fortnite’s deaf/hoh accessibility, which is a weird feeling because there’s always something. Both Save the World and Battle Royale are examples of deaf/hoh accessibility at its best (and the overall accessibility is pretty incredible too!) Fortnite is definitely worth your time (and money if you feel so inclined to play Save the World) and deaf/hoh players should find their experience in the game equal to that of hearing players.

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Courtney Craven

Co-founder and EIC of Can I Play That?, captioner of many things, occasional writer of fiction. Any pronouns.

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