The team behind Uncharted 4 added a bunch of features in order to make the game accessible for people with disabilities, and it all started with a single conversation.
In a touching video posted yesterday, Naughty Dog game designers discussed why implementing accessibility features was so important to them during the creation of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.
It all began with a conversation with Josh Straub, the editor-in-chief of Disabled Accessibility for Gaming Entertainment Rating System (DAGERS), who loves Uncharted but was unable to complete Uncharted 2 because of a series of doors that you have to button-mash through near the end. Straub’s disability left him unable to complete this task, and as a result, he could not finish the game.
“I was faced with the reality that I had played this entire game, I had spent $60 on it, and I could not get any further without the help of an able-bodied person,” said Straub.
One of the accessibility options added in Uncharted 4 was the ability to hold a button down in situations where they would otherwise have to repeatedly hit the button, like in lifting and combat. Others, such as camera assist and a lock-on feature while aiming, are detailed in the video above.
“I think video games, for a lot of people, are often about being able to do things that you wouldn’t normally be able to do, experience great adventures,” said Kevin Keeker, principal user experience researcher at PlayStation. “And so when you find that there are some people who can’t enjoy those things, it’s kind of crushing.”
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End released on May 10 for PlayStation 4. In The Escapist‘s review of the game, I wrote: “If Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was the only PlayStation 4 exclusive ever, I would purchase the system all over again in a heartbeat. I could not recommend a game more sincerely than I do this one.”