Since the release of Sekiro, there has been an accessibility debate within the game community. The debate seems very one sided with people saying they for or against it with no middle ground. This time of hard nosed stance is only hurting the debate. For that say “if you cant play the game as designed, you shouldn’t play it”, I find this to be discriminative. There are some games that are just too challenging for those with a disability, and it isn’t fair to them that they cant enjoy what otherwise would be a truly amazing game. You look at the other side of the argument, “All game makers should include a difficulty setting no matter what”. I think to limit a studio’s creative choice is not productive as it may cause those studios to create games that don’t meet there vision.
We recently talked about this topic on Episode 16 of the Crashing Game Night podcast. We all agreed that first and foremost, the decision should be left up to the studios. It is their vision that is producing such great games like God Of War, Halo, and Sekiro. That being said, we also agreed there should be some option in the game whether it be a difficulty options or an accessibility mode, that would allow gamers regardless of ability to play the game. I have to applaud Microsoft for really taking the lead when it comes to accessibility. Phil Spencer and team took the middle ground approach. Instead of restricting a studio’s visions, they designed a controller that can be adapted to a gamer’s situation. As much of a fan of Sony and Nintendo that the team and I are, it saddens me that they are not actively accepting Microsoft’s offer of making the tech available for all systems. That’s right ALL systems. They truly want all gamers to be able to play the great games out there, whether it is on their system, or a rival’s system.
I think that we all need to work together with people like Steve Spohn and the great folks at Able Gamers to work towards full inclusion for everything. I think we can have a future in gaming that still keeps the studio’s vision fully intact but have options within the game that allows anyone regardless of ability to enjoy the amazing work that games studios are doing during this generation. Everyone should listen to all side’s of the debate before making a firm decision. Through inclusion, we can bring forth a new generation of gamer makers; one that includes people that were inspired to make games because gaming WAS accessible tot them. For the game studios, regardless of your opinion on this topic, please, keep making all those great games. We as fans, cant wait to see what games come out next.