The Last of Us Part II is the Most Accessible Video Game Ever

July 06, 2020

Welcome to another edition of Reader's Corner! At DesignHammer we like to encourage daily reading activities, lifelong learning, and thought leadership. Our Reader's Corner series is meant to serve as a platform through which our staff members can share their perspectives on recently discovered content. If you'd like to stay notified on the external content DesignHammer deems interesting, you can follow our RSS feed to keep up with the latest.

Original Article:
Authored By:

At DesignHammer, we generally think about accessibility as it relates to websites, but I for one had not thought of how accessibility could be applied to making AAA video games accessible to players with disabilities.

The Last of Us Part II (developed by Naughty Dog) is getting a lot of press as potentially the most accessible video game ever and several of Naughty Dog's takeaways from the process of making an accessible video game illuminate similar issues with website accessibility. Most notably:

  1. Accessibility is about removing barriers, not about dumbing down a game or making a game easy.

  2. Accessibility features had to be planned early in production, as many (e.g. text-to-speech, fully remappable controls, and the high-contrast mode) required large technical resources, and they wouldn’t have been possible without significant development time.

  3. Rather than providing a "hearing impaired" player mode and a "motor-impaired" player mode, players wanted granular control over the accessibility accommodations to let them tailor the experience to their specific capabilities and preferences.

While accessibility for websites is a more mature discipline (with recognized industry standards such as WCAG 2.1), the lessons that Naughty Dog shared still hold value for organizations that are committed to accessibility. Specifically:

  1. Whenever possible, look to democratize your website content and functionality through accessibility. This will broaden your audience and your potential reach.

  2. Accessibility is not a "checkbox" that your web developers can enable. It encompasses all aspects of your website including information architecture, design, functionality, and content. As such, accessibility needs to begin in planning and be kept in mind throughout the project (and following launch).

  3. Accessibility compliance must be robust to allow users to work with the tools they need for their particular capabilities and life experience.

The Last of Us Part II: High Contrast Mode The Last of Us Part II: High Contrast Mode

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

How accessible is your website? Not Sure?