Sekiro: Accessibility in Games is About Far More than ‘Difficulty’

Punishment, But It Feels So Good

Accessibility is an area of game design that’s often deeply misunderstood; it’s about barriers, not difficulty.

Accessibility 101

It’s about making the experience as consistent as possible to as much of our audience as possible.

  • Disability is normal human variation, so we’re already in every player base.

  • Some who need accessibility don’t identify as disabled (RSI, arthritis, back injury, broken arms, ADHD, overworked, tired, etc.).

  • There are hard and soft barriers (both = “too hard”):

    • Hard = Can’t play at all due to physical, cognitive and sensory barriers.

    • Soft = Playing is painful/exhausting/stressful/”difficult”.

  • Every option or setting is accessibility for someone.

  • Accessibility often happens accidentally (organically).

  • Accessibility doesn’t have to fundamentally alter the core experience for others or affect artistic vision.

  • FromSoftware Has Already Made Strides in Accessibility

    FromSoftware has made a lot of improvements to its household formula since its early games.

    Empowerment, Understanding, And Acceptance

    Difficulty is a construct and illusion of game design, and every setting can alter the perceived ‘difficulty’ for a given player.

    Cherry Thompson works on accessibility in games and practices ultra-violence with feelings as a public speaker. They have a one-eyed cat called Odin who’s really good at designing his own games. You can follow them on Twitter @cherryrae.

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