With The Last of Us Part 2 drawing closer to launch on June 19, some information surrounding the state of accessibility in the game has come to light. The Verge today, published an interview with Naughty Dog, discussing the studio’s focus on accessibility.
According to the interview, Naughty Dog started thinking more about accessibility after a player wrote to the studio explaining how they were blocked from completing Uncharted 2 because of a quick-time event that they couldn’t complete.
Of course, accessibility has been thought about across Naughty Dog’s games ever since. However, it seems fans are in for a treat with the sequel to The Last of Us.
Some of the options included will allow players to navigate the game’s world by sound, zoom in on the screen, scale the UI, tweak subtitles, and more. In fact, it’s revealed that there are “around 60 different accessibility options” available in the game’s menu. “Accessibility for us is about removing barriers that are keeping players from completing a game,” Naughty Dog’s gameplay designer Emilia Schatz, explains.
Matthew Gallant, a game designer at Naughty Dog reveals that the team was able to include such a range of options in The Last of Us Part 2 because they planned them from the start. He tells The Verge, “We couldn’t have done this if we hadn’t, from the outset, said ‘This is a priority,’”
The piece indicates that Naughty Dog started researching “potential sticking points” way back in 2017. The studio worked with accessibility advocates, attended conferences, and did lots of focus testing. At one point The Last of Us Part 2 was going to include specific menus for specific users, but the response was, “this is not what we want,” and so now, all the accessibility options are compiled into one menu.
As a result, the accessibility menu is said to be “overwhelming” but allows players greater control over numerous sliders, toggles, and options.
A high-contrast mode is used as an example of trying to ensure the tone of the game is kept intact. When enabled, characters in high-contrast mode are shown as specific colors. “One of the overall themes in the game is the gray in the middle, and who is friend, and who is foe,” says Schatz “Especially at some of the more ambivalent moments in the story, when someone might be one or the other, what color do we make them right now?”
“It feels like a failing on our part if a player reaches a part of the game that’s inaccessible to them in any way,” says Matthew Gallant. “It’s incumbent on us to be the ones to find the solutions. Accessibility just makes these games better.” Preach it, Matthew!
You can expect to see what CIPT thought of the accessibility options in the game when we go in-depth into what’s available. Expect our coverage to go live when the embargo lifts on June 12.
The Last of Us Part 2 is to launch exclusively on PS4 on June 19.