Can I Play That? Accessibility Awards 2021 — The Winners

Can I Play That?9 minute read

And here they are! It’s our pleasure to announce the winners of the Can I Play That? Accessibility Awards 2021 with our new Susan Banks Advocacy Award sponsored by Ubisoft. The last few weeks have been filled with behind-the-scenes conversations and organization, before shifting to voting from our panel of judges and also the public voting by you. All to have your say on what games, studios, and individuals have done great work with accessibility in the last year.

It’s been a bit of a wild ride as well as this year kind of started off, a bit dire to say the least, but things rapidly increased throughout the year. In the last few months, we’ve seen so many games launch with accessibility, we’ve seen individuals achieving so much, and it’s been wonderful to see during the bleakness of the world over the last 2 years.

So, it is without further ado that we announce the winners of the Can I Play That? Accessibility Awards 2021, and this year we’re doing it differently. We’ve announced the winners live on a YouTube Premiere stream and tweeting out the winners in tow. And you’ll be able to find that video below. So let’s get to it!

Watch Can I Play That Accessibility Awards 2021 on YouTube

AAA excellence

Accessibility in a game made on big budget / by a big team

WINNER: Forza Horizon 5 (Playground Games)

Indie excellence

Accessibility in a game made on a small budget / by a small team

WINNER: The Vale: Shadow of the Crown (Falling Squirrel)

Best Deaf/HoH accessibility

Accessibility for gamers who are Deaf or hard of hearing

WINNER: Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (Square Enix)

Best physical/mobility accessibility

Accessibility for gamers with motor impairment

WINNER: Forza Horizon 5 (Playground Games)

Best blind/low-vision accessibility

Accessibility for gamers with low/no vision

  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Insomniac Games)
  • Forza Horizon 5 (Playground Games)
  • The Vale: Shadow of the Crown (Falling Squirrel)

WINNER: The Vale: Shadow of the Crown (Falling Squirrel)

Best cognitive accessibility

Accessibility for neurodiversity and cognitive/learning disability

WINNER: Unpacking (Witch Beam)

Best representation

Representation of disabled characters

WINNER: Halo Infinite (343 Industries)

Best journalism

Article about game accessibility

WINNER: How Xbox Is Advancing Gaming Accessibility on Its Platforms, And, Hopefully, Throughout the Industry – Grant Stoner

Best academic research

Published academic paper on game accessibility

  • Disability and Video Games Journalism: A Discourse Analysis of Accessibility and Gaming Culture (by Sky LaRell Anderson, and Kat Schrier)
  • Game Accessibility and Advocacy for Participation of the Japanese Disability Community (by Muneo Kaigo and Sae Okura)
  • Grounded Theory of Accessible Game Development (by Jozef Kulik, Jen Beeston, and Paul Cairns)

WINNER: Grounded Theory of Accessible Game Development (by Jozef Kulik, Jen Beeston, and Paul Cairns)

Most improved

Greatest progress through patches, mods, or remakes/remasters

WINNER: Sea Of Thieves (Rare)

Best game accessibility event

Event about game accessibility

WINNER: Game Accessibility Conference (GAConf)

Most accessible gaming event

Gaming event inclusive of the widest audience

WINNER: Xbox/Bethesda showcase

Favorite innovation in accessible tech

New or improved hardware

WINNER: SonicSight

All games should implement this

Most innovative or helpful accessibility consideration, either a feature/option or default design

  • Full captions from Marvel’s Guardian’s of the Galaxy
  • Game Speed from Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart
  • Content warnings from Boyfriend Dungeon

WINNER: Game Speed from Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart

Biggest accessibility surprise

Something impactful that you didn’t see coming

WINNER: Xbox introducing storefront accessibility tags

Most dedicated publisher

The publisher making the most significant or most consistent efforts

  • Ubisoft
  • Xbox Game Studios
  • Square Enix

WINNER: Xbox Game Studios

Most dedicated studio

The studio making the most significant or most consistent efforts

  • Rare
  • Insomniac Games
  • Ubisoft Kyiv

WINNER: Insomniac Games

MVP award for most dedicated developer

The individual developer making the most significant or most consistent efforts internally (this can include people working in accessibility roles)

  • David Tisserand (Ubisoft)
  • Améliane F. Chiasson (Square Enix)
  • Tara Voelker (Xbox)

WINNER: Tara Voelker (Xbox)

The Susan Banks Advocacy Award

Susan made a profound difference at a critical time for the industry. This award can be someone either in a development role or not – anyone who is an advocate making a difference across the wider industry

The Susan Banks Advocacy Award is sponsored by Ubisoft

  • Morgan Baker
  • Ian Hamilton
  • Jerome Dupire

WINNER: Morgan Baker


And that about wraps it up for the Can I Play That? Accessibility Awards 2021! A huge thank you to Ubisoft for sponsoring the Susan Banks Advocacy Award this year, and thanks to the guest speakers for taking the time to announce the winners. Another thanks goes out to our judges for the awards, who are, as followed: Courtney Craven, Ben Bayliss, Grant Stoner, Tara Voelker, Ian Hamilton, Chris Robinson, Kate Sánchez, Steve Saylor, Stacey Rebecca, James Berg, and Thomas Westin.

Additionally, Can I Play That? would like to thank you for continuing to support Can I Play That? should you be a returning reader, and thank you for your support as we continue to do what we do as a small, unpaid team. If you’re new to the site, then we hope that you stick around and find what you’re looking for! Don’t forget that you can support Can I Play That? through Patreon where we’ll be able to use funds to keep the site running and deliver more content.

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