Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Ups the Ante on Accessibility – WIRED (Grant Stoner | July 2021)

A Black man enjoying his smartphone.

Insomniac Games’ new banner title shows what developers can do to make games more inclusive.

We aren’t gamers ourselves anymore, but our kids are or used to be.  Well, that’s a sentence I never expected to write – Gary.  But this WIRED piece discusses a welcome move in terms of disabilities in computer games.  Anything that normalises disability is incredibly welcome.

DURING A RECENT PlayStation State of Play broadcast, Insomniac Games’ Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart took center stage, showcasing approximately 16 minutes of gameplay. While the presentation had the standard hallmarks of a game demo, highlighting graphical improvements, new mechanics, and a synopsis of the latest story, we also unexpectedly got a brief display of menus featuring a variety of accessibility options. That acknowledgment of those who will benefit from accessible features indicates that the industry is continuing to listen to disabled voices.

Insomniac Games’ latest title is not the studio’s first foray into the field of game accessibility. In fact, numerous developers owned by Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) have dabbled in creating inclusive virtual environments for disabled players. As Sam Thompson, manager and senior producer at SIE notes, once development studios start the task of implementing accessibility into their games, future titles can focus on improving shortcomings.

“Take Naughty Dog for example: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was the studio’s first title that contained formal accessibility features,” Thompson says. “The game shipped with 37 accessibility options in total, including a host of new features like a dedicated accessibility menu. If you fast-forward to The Last of Us Part II, Naughty Dog increased that to over 60.”

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We aren't gamers ourselves anymore, but our kids are or used to be.  Well, that's a sentence I never expected to write - Gary.  But this WIRED piece discusses a welcome move in terms of disabilities in computer games.  Anything that normalises disability is incredibly welcome.

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