You might think that video games are the ultimate equalizer. Everyone can play them, regardless of their sex, physical ability, or age. However, that’s not completely the case, and for a long time, video games struggled with being accessible to everyone. Everyone is unique, and some of us have challenges with our dexterity, vision, or hearing, to name just a few examples. In recent years, there has been a real effort to improve the accessibility of games to connect with as many people as possible.
Why Accessibility Matters
Accessibility is part of living in an inclusive, accepting, and rich society. People with disabilities are all around and live in a world that sometimes treats them like an afterthought. Video games can be one of the parts of our culture that gets it right. Besides, it’s profitable. The more accessible games are, the more people will buy them. It’s also a challenge for game developers to find ways to make the games more accessible and disability friendly.
Sniper Elite 5 is the most recent release in the franchise. The games have been known for their stealth action and gory visuals. The developers have made efforts for everyone to experience the thrill of seeing a Nazi’s face exploding in vivid detail. Here are the accessibility features you’ll find in the game.
For a long time, video games would offer a few difficulty settings. They would make the enemies go slower, or it would be easier to hit your target. However, Sniper Elite 5 allows you to customize things within those settings, so you can make your gameplay to be exactly as challenging as you need and want it to be.
For example, you can turn off whether certain sounds or actions happen, such as bullet drops. You can also turn off wind direction or empty lung assistance. Some people have difficulty when too much information is on the screen, so you can have as little or as much on your heads-up display. These features not only make it easier for someone with a disability to play, but they can even make it more enjoyable for able-bodied players.
There are various ways in which you can adjust what you see on the screen to improve your gaming experience. For example, there are some preset options if you are color blind. If you are visually impaired, there are options for helping you aim, whether you use your scope or your over-the-shoulder view.
There are of course subtitles, but you can also change the color to make them easier to read. This goes along with a sizing option. There you can also toggle the sizing between three choices for the user interface. Some people have trouble with the preset keyboard controls, so you can fully customize it to make it work for you. If you need to use larger keys more often, then you can make them your most used keys.
Motion sickness is an issue with many games, but war games in particular since there are a lot of moving parts on the screen, and the horizon can sometimes shift. To assist with this, Sniper Elite 5 has a feature to turn off motion blur and binocular distortion.
Shooting and war games are loud, and there can be a lot of sounds coming at you all at once. Differentiation between noises can be important if you’re trying to get a sense of where your enemy is preparing to attack from. Sniper Elite 5 has spatial audio, which allows for easier differentiation. They also have sliders so you can turn down certain sounds and turn up others. If you have trouble hearing dialogue, for instance, you can turn that down. Explosions are cool, but you don’t necessarily have to hear them, so you can turn those down and be better able to hear what’s going on around you.
Some people don’t get into video games because, well, they seem complicated. Games are no longer about a side-scrolling character who jumps and shoots. Now, you can choose to have little training sessions and tutorials throughout the game. You can play them as many times as you like as you go, so you will always have the information. The pause menus also contain important information and explanations when you need them.
Video games should be for everyone. Sniper Elite 5, and many games before it, have recognized that fact and taken steps to improve. It will be exciting to see where the gaming industry will be in a decade or more as they evolve and improve their accessibility features even further.