A few weeks ago, in early July, we talked on this show about Resident Evil Village because, at the time, it seemed all but confirmed that a new piece of new accessibility support was coming to the game, but was going to be locked behind a paywall.
Since then, we have had somewhat of an update on that story. We did get confirmation that, yes, the accessibility setting that I feared would be locked behind a paywall is going to be locked behind a paywall. However, we also got confirmation that on the same day, Resident Evil Village will be getting a free accessibility update that will be adding SOME accessibility features to the game. Not the feature that’s locked behind a paywall, we’ll talk about that in a bit, but it is adding some accessibility features for all players.
So today, on Access-Ability, we’re going to be talking about the free accessibility update coming to Resident Evil Village in October, alongside the release of the game’s Winter’s Expansion and Gold Edition. We’re going to talk about the new free accessibility update and what settings it adds to the game that are useful, we’re going to talk about the one setting that’s locked behind the paywall of the new expansion, and we’re going to talk about why that setting being locked behind a paywall is particularly infuriating given the context of a free accessibility update happening on the same day.
Let’s start off this episode by taking a look at the October accessibility update, free for all players, which is releasing alongside Resident Evil Village: Gold Edition, and the paid Winters Expansion DLC.
The free update brings a few very much needed updates to the game, which have been heavily requested by disabled players since the game originally launched.
Firstly, the update adds settings to alter subtitle size, subtitle colour, and background toggles. The default subtitles in Resident Evil Village suffer from being too small, in too limited a range of colours, with not enough contrast against backgrounds, making them difficult to use for many players in practice, and all three of these updates improve basic visibility.
Next, the update will allow for the display of speaker names at the start of subtitles in story mode. Again, the reasons that this is important should be easy to see. If there are multiple characters in a scene talking, a deaf or hard of hearing player may not instantly know who is speaking if the character’s lips are not visible on screen moving. By displaying speaker names, it becomes much easier to follow dialogue subtitles.
Another much requested feature, the addition of closed captions. Where subtitles simply list dialogue being spoken by characters, closed captions include subtitles for non dialogue sounds, such as an explanation that there was the sound of a large creature out of sight stomping toward a building, or a howling as a creature approaches your location. These give context for tone, ambience, and storytelling that’s told through wordless audio.
Lastly, the free update adds a permanent centre screen reticle, a setting which can help to mitigate feelings of motion sickness in players who find themselves prone to illness when playing certain first person games. It’s not a one size fits all solution, it doesn’t fix motion sickness entirely by itself, but for some players, it can help to lessen symptoms of motion sickness while playing.
Now, that final option, the Permanent Reticle, is really important. A LOT of players who are prone to occasional motion sickness found Resident Evil Village a difficult video game to play comfortably, myself included. Due to a combination of lots of different small factors, the game seems a little more prone to setting off motion sickness in players than comparable first-person titles, and any tools being added that could lessen motion sickness for players are greatly appreciated.
However, as we highlighted a few weeks ago on this show, there is a much more major accessibility update coming to the game in terms of helping motion sickness prone players, and it is not included in this free accessibility update.
Third Person Mode does what it says on the tin, allowing players to play through Resident Evil Village, from start to finish, in third person.
Third person camera modes in video games are FAR less prone to causing motion sickness in players who are prone to experiencing it, and as such the addition of a third person mode to a formerly first person only game is a really big deal for lessening the impact of motion sickness on players, one that for me personally would have much more impact on my ability to avoid motion sickness as a disabled player than the addition of the Centre Screen Reticle coming in the free accessibility update.
However, this new third person mode is exclusive to players who either buy the game’s new Gold Edition release, or the Winters Expansion paid DLC, which consists largely of new story content for the game.
It is really disappointing that Capcom is locking this Third Person Mode behind the paid expansion pass, and not including it as part of their free accessibility update. They’ve demonstrated with the inclusion of the permanent centre screen reticle that they recognise that motion sickness is a problem to be addressed with accessibility, that it is something that impacts disabled players being able to comfortably play their game, that it’s something they need to address, but the most radical thing they’ve done to help motion sick players is locked behind a paid expansion, and not included in the free accessibility update and to me that suggests they don’t fundamentally understand that this is something that is important to people who have motion sickness issues like myself.
Additionally, I really don’t think that Third Person Mode needed to be included in the paid Winters Expansion DLC. That DLC has new story content, and I think most people are purchasing it for that.
I think that if you had taken Third Person Mode, and just made it part of this accessibility update, and just had the new story content be what you were selling The Winters Expansion on, I don’t think it would have had a major impact on DLC sales, and if it did have a small impact, I think that that’s something you have to be okay with, because you shouldn’t be using something that is a massive;y helpful accessibility feature, for a group that you recognise need accessibility support, as a way to sell this DLC.
You recognise that accessibility should be part of free updates, you shouldn’t be bundling it in with paid expansions.
To see a free accessibility update come to the game, and demonstrate that Capcom recognises the need for accessibility, and on the exact same day sell a solution to an accessibility problem for some of those players as part of paid DLC, I really hoped for better from Capcom. I didn’t THINK we would get better, but I hoped for better.