In the recent State of Play, Sony showcased their upcoming exclusive “Ghost Of Tsushima.” While they didn’t reveal anything accessibility specific, there were some possible accessibility features that were in the gameplay that we saw.
In today’s video, I break down possible accessibility options in Ghost of Tsushima and talk about what I liked and what I hope are later changed or can be customized in the final game.
Ghost Of Tsushima is coming out on July 17th by Sucker Punch and Playstation Studios on the Playstation 4.
Below is the full transcript for the video.
I’m Steve Saylor. I’m blind and if you’re wondering how I’m able to play video games if I’m blind, if you take a look at the video here, you can be able to see exactly what I see when I’m playing video games.
Today, I’m taking a look at Sony’s recent State of Play, where they showcase Ghost of Tsushima. Now, even though there wasn’t anything accessibility-related in that gameplay, there was a few things that I picked up that were definitely positives for accessibility, and there’s a few things that were like, we’re not too sure about. So, this is more about a breakdown of potential accessibility features and options that could be in the game.
Now, full disclosure, even though I do consult with studios, I did not consult with Sucker Punch, so I do not know what the accessibility offerings are gonna be for Ghost of Tsushima But I wanted to at least glean the knowledge that I have when consulting with other studios and what I see and what I’ve been able to glean from this gameplay footage that we’re about to take a look at.
So, first off, I wanna talk about the waypoint system or the way to navigate based on a gust of wind. From myself, personally, in my game play, this is great. I love when they can be able to create a new system that still allows the waypoint system but still keeps the emersion of it. And I love that the balance of this, where you can be able to still see the gust of wind, no matter where you are, you can see it in any direction. You can be able to turn it on at any given point to make sure that you’re going the right way and I actually really do like this.
What I do hope, that I am not able to see, obviously, because they didn’t show any options, was that you can be able to specifically set the sound for the gust of wind to be at a high level, so that at least those who have less vision than I do can be able to still hear the gust of wind and at least have directional sound as to where it’s supposed to go.
Another thing that I gleaned and I noticed was that any time you’re running or riding past certain items that you can be able to pick up within the world, what I liked about it was that there was a nice visual glow to those. So that it kinda catches your eye’s attention so that you know that something’s nearby that you can be able to pick up.
Of course, for those who have less vision than I do, may have an issue with this if there’s no sound attached to it. Hopefully, there is either some controller feedback or there’s a sound that actually can be added that will allow blind players to be able to play this.
Something big that I really noticed, that I really, really enjoyed and that was in regards to what was built into the HUD/user interface. Generally, when you create a minimalistic HUD —or developers, what they’ve done in the past— is that they push things off to the side and that there is small text and there generally is no background color to the text. They just have like transparent behind it and it’s gonna blend into the environment.
What I really liked seeing in this and you see it whenever Jin rides into a new area or discovers new locations, there actually is either a really subtle background shadow to the text or there is a semi-transparent block of color behind the white text so it stands out and adds some contrast to the text in the environment.
Now, granted, there is actually some pretty small text that are actually relegated to the corners of the screen and that’s something I hope that you can be able to adjust the HUD in this game. And even with, in regards to the interaction elements, yes, they can be a little bit bigger.
I probably found it, when I’m looking at it, is a little bit smaller than I want, but at least they’re contrasted large enough that they can actually be seen whenever you’re picking up items or interacting with people. And I think that actually could be a benefit for those, when they needed a little extra contrast, for any of the graphical elements that pop up.
In-Game Menus and User Interface
Something I also wanna touch on is in regards to the in-game menus. We did get to see a little bit of that in this, and what I like is the large elements that there are in this user interface.
There’s definitely a lot of large text and a lot of large icons that you can be able to see. I probably would like the legend to be a little bit bigger on the bottom right, but, I mean, I’ve seen games that have smaller than this so it’s not a huge issue with me. It’s kinda one of those, eh, wish it could be a little bit bigger and hopefully, that can be adjusted in options, I don’t know.
I do like that there’s a lot of contrast into the environment itself and things kind of pop out at you, which is really, really great. Another thing that I think is gonna be really beneficial for deaf and hard of hearing players is whenever you take a look at say, stuff like smokestacks, and animals lead you to interesting places on the map. This actually can be really great for those who are deaf and hard of hearing when normally a lot of games like this would use sound as a way to be able to navigate.
But at least within this, there are some visualization elements that will pop out and be able to allow you as a player to be able to say “Okay, there’s something over there that I can be able to take a look at.”
What I really hope, for those who are blind, is that there is some sound element to it that leads you in the direction, similar to what I really hope for the gust of wind, in that there’s directional sound that leads you into those different places.
Now, there is a concern I have, in regard to the game’s difficulty level. It does mention in the State of Play that there is some skillful precision that needs to be made and I understand that definitely a Souls-like game is something that this possibly could be compared to. But what I really hope is that Sucker Punch was able to add difficulty levels for those who, not only just for disabled players, but also want a little bit more of a story experience and a cinematic experience when they’re watching their favorite samurai movie.
I hope that there’s not a preset difficulty in this and that you can be able to adjust it, similar to what Jedi: Fallen Order did, in regards to its difficulty levels.
Now, when you become the ghost and you go into stealth mode, that’s actually kind of a gameplay that I prefer. Honestly. I love going into stealth mode ’cause it allows me to take my time and figure out my plan of attack after each step. I’m not rush, rush, rush, trying to be able to kill as many people as possible and possibly make mistakes because I hit a button too early or whatever and it killed me in the process.
Even though they say it’s the dishonorable ghost, I hope I don’t become a bad guy by being stealth. But my style of gameplay is probably gonna lean towards more the stealth side than necessarily the samurai side.
Something I did really pick up on that I know that there’s definitely gonna be within this is that when they mention Japanese voice tracks and that you can turn that on, along with subtitle, before the first scene in the game. Which means, to me that there is no cold open and that you’re able to adjust options before you jump into a game.
Now, for those who may not know what that means, whenever you start a game for the first time, and it jumps you into the action right away and it does a bit of tutorial before it even gets to say, the opening title card, but it doesn’t allow you to really change any options at all before you even start. So this has been something that people within the accessibility community have rallied against because it limits what a disabled player is able to play because it creates a default set of options that may not be beneficial or may be really difficult for disabled players to adapt to before they can even adjust any settings to help them out and remove some barriers for them to be able to play.
So, what this tells me is that there is options at the very beginning of the game that you can adjust before you even jump in, which is amazing. So, hopefully, you can see the actual full, either accessibility menu, or you have access to the full options before you jump in.
I also gleaned from, is when they mention Japanese voice tracks with subtitles, I really hope, and we’ve seen this in a lot of big triple-A games, that there is some pretty decent subtitle options. At least we know that they’ve took some care in creating a cinematic experience with the Japanese voice tracks and they obviously want the subtitles to stand out.
Now, even though we didn’t see what the subtitles look like in this, I think that they would at least have some subtitle options. I hope. Or at least, I hope that they are working on that for this because I think people are gonna be pretty excited and wanna be able to try that out.
Samurai Cinematic and Colorblind
Now, the last thing that I saw that actually was really cool and also really, really accessible — now they may not have intended this to be accessible, but you can tell, at least, that the detail that they had to put into this, what made it actually accessible for a certain type of disabled players and that’s in regards to, oh man, samurai cinematic mode.
Now, okay, I don’t watch a lot of samurai movies. I think they’re okay. I think they’re fine and I know the impact that it’s had on pop culture with some of the great movies that we’ve seen or had influence from old samurai movies and I love that they actually added that in here.
But what I noticed, for accessibility, everything is in black and white, which a lot of samurai movies are. But did you notice that the HUD is also in black and white as well? Which means that those who are color blind can actually play this game and not have to rely on color at all to be able to play this game.
And I see this in a lot, there’s certain games that actually have a reliance on color. They’ll add colorblind modes and filters to be able to help those kind of players.
But what this means is that the HUD and the UI and all the gameplay, if you can play this in black and white, Sucker Punch probably put a lot of attention into that to make sure that even those who wanna be able to play it, that don’t have a colorblind deficiency, can actually be able to play this and not have to rely on color at all.
That is something that I was like, when I saw that, that blew my mind. That was really, really cool and even though it may not even be accessibility-designed, the fact that that accessibility was built into the feature itself. I don’t know if it was accidental or intentional, but I really hope that that was something they thought of when they built in this.
That was like, okay, let’s make this so that actually colorblind players can be able to play and not have to worry about a colorblind filter because they don’t need it, which is great.
So, that’s the accessibility stuff that I saw. Now, I do have some concerns in regards to accessibility, in regards to waypoints. Hopefully that there’s more definition and color for certain things for those who are visually disabled, and we obviously don’t know the audio options as of yet for those who are fully blind.
So there definitely is gonna be some things that we’re gonna have to wait until July when we see this game for the first time and hopefully there is a decent accessibility menu there or at least, hopefully, that Sucker Punch will be able to release this information before the game comes out so you can be able to at least make our purchases wisely.
I hope that’s the case. If you wanna be able to read more thoughts about this, make sure you go to Ben Bayliss’ article on caniplaythat.com and read his thoughts on the accessibility that he gleaned from Ghost of Tsushima State of Play.
So, that’s it for me. If you have any questions or comments about this, please leave a comment down below or if you like this video, make sure you hit the like button. If you wanna be able to see more of my videos, hit the subscribe button, and if you wanna be able to be notified when new videos come out, make sure you hit that bell notification icon. Thanks for much for watching.I’ll see you in the next video and, as always, I remain obediently yours. Bye.