This week on Access-Ability, I wanted to try something a little bit different, and I don’t just mean appearing in cartoon form in the video version of this episode. There has been a ridiculous heatwave in the UK, I didn;t want to appear under studio lights in my office in the heat.
There have been a lot of interesting video game accessibility news stories the past few weeks that definitely deserved a mention, but many of them have been a little too short or simple to dedicate a full episode of the show to.
So this week, on Access-Ability, we’re going to be dipping our toes into a bunch of different accessibility in video games news stories, that are all a bit too short to dedicate a full episode to on their own, ranging from games getting new accessibility fonts, through to upcoming games that we hope avoid the accessibility pitfalls of their previous series entries.
First up on this week’s news roundup, let’s talk about Disco Elysium: Final Cut on PC.
Disco Elysium has seen a few updates over the years that have made its very text heavy plot easier to engage with, including increased text size, and the addition of voice acting for almost all in-game text. The newest update to the PC version is explicitly designed to support Dyslexic players.
Players of the PC version of Disco Elysium: Final Cut can now change in game text from its default stylised font to Open Dyslexic, an alternative font aimed at being more easily legible for dyslexic players.
Currently, there is no word if this update will also be coming to console versions of the game.
In other news, with the release of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 rapidly approaching on the 29th of July, I’ve seen a few people bringing up the fact that the series prior entry, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, hid some difficulty altering accessibility settings behind a paid DLC season pass.
The Challenge Battle Mode Pack for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 allowed players to set their party leader character to auto battle, remove the timed button press prompts from Blade special attacks and automatically pass those checks with a rating of “good”, and lower enemy aggression so that enemies fail to detect the player unless the player initiates a battle.
While the fact Xenoblade Chronicles 2 locked accessibility settings behind a paywall isn’t technically news, the game came out several years ago, it is worth discussing with the [imminent] release of Xenoblade 3, so that we can keep an eye out for whether or not this is repeated in this new sequel.
Moving on, there’s a new contender in the accessibility focused controller space, as the 8BitDo Lite SE has just released this past week. Unlike the Xbox Adaptive Controller or the Hori Flex, which we’ve both reviewed on this channel in the past, the 8BitDo Lite SE does not feature customisable 3.5mm ports for attaching external buttons and switches. Nor does it feature a rear tripod mount.
The controller is a single small and light device, with a rubberised texture on the back, allowing it to be placed on a table, and in theory stay in position during play. All of the controller’s buttons are placed onto the front face, allowing players to access all buttons on the controller while it’s placed on the table, without needing to lift it up. Additionally, L3 and R3 have their own dedicated buttons, so that players are not required to click in their analogue sticks to activate those functions.
The buttons on the 8BitDo Lite SE also feature reduced resistance, meaning they’re easier to press for players with muscle weakness.
We have ordered an 8BitDo Lite SE controller, and will have a review up soon. The controller supports connecting to the Nintendo Switch, Android phones, or the Raspberry Pie.
Lastly for today, we’ve got the news that Sniper Elite 5 has recently had a new accessibility update, which has added to the game a Field Of View slider on PC to help players who struggle with motion sickness, as well as a series of other updates coming to all platforms, including a toggle to make enemies visible as an outline even when line of sight to them is blocked, aiming can be made into a toggle rather than a button hold, the game’s radial menu can be set as a toggle rather than a hold, the in game map can now be manually panned around, and climbing, traversal, and running can be set to automatic.
And there you have it, a bunch of video game accessibility stories that don’t need their own dedicated episodes of Access-Ability, but I did want to cover, even if briefly.
As I said at the start of this episode, the UK is currently experiencing a severe heatwave, with some of the highest temperatures ever recorded in the country’s history, hence my animated appearance in the video upload of today’s episode, saving me setting up hot studio lights when my studio is already way too hot. That said, if you’re not opposed to occasional animated episodes, let me know, as there are days that this would certainly be useful for.
While none of this week’s accessibility stories was huge news, or needed talking about in too much depth, I am glad we could touch on them all. If you’re up for more quick roundup episodes of this show in future, let me know, as there’s always small stories that deserve a spotlight, but may be pretty light on actual details to discuss.