Age of Empires IV has released for Xbox consoles and includes the accessibility features we’ve already seen in the PC version, such as narration and high contrast modes. The user interface is adapted for improved legibility and controller input. A dedicated accessibility page on the Age of Empires website lists the accessibility features for the console version.
Console specific optimization
To help players learn the controls of the console version of Age of Empires IV, a new tutorial progressively introduces the mechanics. The story of the tutorial follows events leading up to the start of the main campaign. Additionally a Learn to Play Age of Empires IV series of videos are available on YouTube.
Villager Priority System
Controller input and the micromanagement of resource gathering in an RTS (Real Time Strategy) game is not an ideal combination. A newly developed automation system helps players control villagers while they gather resources and construct buildings. Players have access to a radial menu with villager priority presets. This Villager Priority System lets players quickly choose between different distributions of priority for tasks. When needed, villagers automatically focus on the tasks with highest priority.
Site Menu System
In a similar fashion, the Site Menu System is another context sensitive radial menu. It allows players to quickly perform an appropriate action, such as building a structure, based on the player’s selection. Or quickly find a building for example.
At this moment these radial and contextual controls are unique to the console version, but simplified controls like that could also be a great accessibility feature on the PC version. Maybe we’ll see that happen in the future for this series or other RTS games.