The evolution of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and its audio accessibility has been detailed by a sound designer who worked on the game.
Daniel Richer, a sound designer at Eidos Montreal has shared their experience with working on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the topic of accessibility. The information comes from a blog post by Richer over on Pro Sound Effects and touches on the features worked on during the production of the game.
Richer details how he joined the team in 2018 and that “there were already ongoing talks surrounding accessibility-related ambitions and goals” and that because there were a number of people championing accessibility discussions, the topic “never felt like an afterthought.”
Richer details that the accessibility team was created in 2020 and that its existence meant “discussions would become more frequent, and that accessibility was now officially part of our design philosophy.” Apparently, a large chunk of the game’s advanced audio settings had been worked on back in 2019, and experimental features were then worked on.
Focus Mix is one, and was a feature “initially aimed to be a way to lighten the cognitive load of the game” but doubled up as a way to play the game at a low volume. It’s explained to work as such, “Think of it as a mix sitting on top of the main audio mix of the game. When enabled, it simply reduces the playback volume of non-critical elements from the soundscape. That way, voices and musical elements get more room to breathe.”
Loud Volume Slider was another feature listed and explained to be a way to allow the players to adjust audio playback by lowering the loudest sounds independently from the dynamic range settings that have been chosen by the player. The post notes “it’s strongly suggested to use this with a narrow audio dynamic range to better guarantee a more tightly balanced dynamic sounding experience free of sudden peaks in loudness.” There’s also a video demo to show an example of the feature in action.
EQ presets is the last feature detailed in the post and was reportedly added late in development. The feature came about when “someone from the team told us that he suffered from tinnitus and that none of our options felt like they really helped him out.” After researching, the feature was designed and implemented and allows players to adjust a range of frequencies that could be triggering.