In case we need another reason why Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is an incredible game, developer Naughty Dog integrated some amazing accessibility options into the game that help disabled gamers get to experience Nathan Drake’s final adventure too. By simply implementing a few control scheme options into the game, players who have trouble aiming, controlling the camera, or even mashing buttons during a quick time event can get a bit of aid to help them complete the game. Naughty Dog released a video this week telling the story of how they came up with these features and showcasing how each of them work. After watching the video and shedding a tear or two due to how touching it was at times, I came to a realization of just how important these features are and how I hope Naughty Dog launched a trend that will ripple through the gaming industry that aims to allow everyone to enjoy the games we love.
A disabled gamer by the name of Josh Straub met with Naughty Dog developers to speak about the importance of accessibility in gaming. As a result, Naughty Dog implemented a very cool set of control options that help disabled players tackle the game’s challenges without downright preventing them from playing all together. One feature enables a lock-on aiming mechanism that helps target enemies without the need of precise analog stick movements. Another feature automatically moves the camera in a way that focuses more on the action for those who may have trouble using the right stick to center the camera in crucial areas of gameplay. Also, an option to hold the triangle button as opposed to mashing it during QTE sections help those who have trouble tapping buttons rapidly progress forward. Hell, the triangle hold option is fantastic for all gamers who simply hate rapidly tapping buttons when prompted. I personally used this option myself!
Hearing Josh’s story was quite inspiring. He stresses that disabled players use gaming as an escape, just as anyone else, but that escape is even more important to these gamers since it helps them get through their daily struggles by leaving their lives for a bit to step into the shoes of a digital hero. Not many developers seem to think about gamers with disabilities so disabled players are basically left in the dust so more able-bodied players can enjoy these adventures. I think it’s time that this mentality in the gaming industry needs to change. Personally, I’m as hardcore of a gamer as they come and the thought of not being able to enjoy my favorite hobby because I suddenly acquired a disability due to unseen circumstances is frightening to me. I can only imagine how disabled gamers feel who simply just want to be included in on the fun.
As much as I want to praise Naughty Dog here, they’re not the only ones doing great things for disabled gamers. A non-profit charity organization by the name of The AbleGamers Charity helps those with disabilities discover gaming while also working to improve accessibility in video games. The group also rates video games for accessibility purposes so those with disabilities can find games that they’re able to enjoy. AbleGamers even helps develop devices to aid in gameplay for those with disabilities and even hosts events and conventions for disabled gamers to network and play together. You can visit their website at ablegamers.com to help out by donating to this wonderful cause.
Naughty Dog has accomplished a wonderful thing by including accessibility features for gamers who may have a little trouble playing the game. I’m hoping that the popularity of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Naughty Dog’s strive to make the game accessible to as many people as possible will become a new trend in game design. The day that all disabled gamers no longer have to pick and choose which games they can play due to physical limitations will be a major win in this industry. We all want to enjoy the amazing games that developers create and one day I hope no gamer will be left behind. Kudos to Naughty Dog for their industry leading accessibility options in Uncharted 4! Let’s hope they started a revolution.