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Last of Us II and Accessibility in Video Games

August 10, 2020

A screenshot of the video game "The Last of Us Part 2". Ellie, the main character, is riding a horse into a abandoned city.

Video games are a great way to transport players to new worlds and tell new stories. However, video games are a very visual medium, while also needing fast reflexes, good hearing, and great vision to be able to play. These can make it hard for those who are blind or visually impaired to interact with these games without the use of screen readers like Seeing AI.

A few games like Madden NFL, and Need for Speed made gradual steps to include different audio cues for different situations. Other games have the option to enable subtitles. Video game developer, Naughty Dog, is setting out to change this with their latest game, The Last of Us II.

The Last of Us II is being praised as the first every Triple-A game designed with accessibility in mind from the beginning. The game offers 60 different accessibility features for vision, hearing, and motor accessibility. These features allow players to focus on playing the game instead of running into inaccessible roadblocks. While the game is rated Mature, we are highlighting the game for their various accessibility features.

Naughty Dog, known for developing Crash Bandicoot and the Uncharted game series, focused on these accessibility features after a player recalled being unable to finish their last game due to an inaccessible quick time event.

Some of the accessibility features geared towards those with vision loss include color contrasts, enhanced audio cues, text-to-speech, skipping visual puzzles, and more.  Along with these options, the game allows players to remap every command on their controller.

These features are great steps in leveling the playing field for blind and visually impaired gamers. It allows them to enjoy the same games and stories as their sighted counterparts.

We hope that other game developers consider adding these features to games for all ages. For more information about other accessible games, visit https://www.game-accessibility.com/about/.