Firebird releases with screen reader support

Marijn / ActiveB1t2 minute read

Firebird, a narrative game by French indie studio Ludogram, released on Steam with several accessibility features. Mainly, the game includes screen reader support in an attempt to make the game accessible to blind players. A choice the developer made after a visit by LudAccess, a French organization specializing in visual accessibility in games. I tried out some of the features in a demo of the game.

Screen reader support

On starting the game, it asks if the player wants to enable the screen reader. Players can turn it on or off later in an accessibility menu in the settings. When using the screen reader, Firebird suggests using a controller to easily access descriptions. Each direction on the D-pad a description is available of the subjects to the left or right of the screen. Up describes the background, while down repeats the dialogue on screen.

The game presents its dialogue through text, with speaker names that have a unique background color. The screen reader includes the speaker name in its narration. A dialogue choice which progresses the story is labeled by an icon, as it will block other dialogue options. The screen reader also relays this warning to the player.

Accessibility options

Aside from this screen reader support, there is an option to use larger text. There are several other options to reduce shaking effects for the scenery, characters, and text. Players can toggle UI transparency and particle effects as well here.

Not in the accessibility menu, but definitely a beneficial feature, is the text speed. Text fades in word by word, but choosing instant will disable the fade in entirely. There are a few volume sliders for game and interface volume. Players can remap keyboard inputs, but no controller remapping was available in the demo. There is a language selector, but when set to English a few French words remain. Most notably in the accessibility menu. I do not know if this is true for the full game, but I expect such localization mistakes to get fixed soon enough.

The game released yesterday on Steam for Windows and MacOS, and according to the official website should release for Nintendo Switch later. The demo of Firebird that includes the accessibility features is available for Windows on Steam as well.

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(ActiveB1t)Website operationsHe/They

CIPT's resident one-person IT crew responsible for the looks, functionality, and accessibility of the site. Inclusion and accessibility troublemaker and creator of the Alt Or Not browser plugin for Twitter. Child of the 80's without an intention of growing up.

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