Forza Horizon 5 will soon be the first major video game to offer the option of a sign language interpreter for cut-scenes, reported Video Games Chronicle.
In a blog post on the official Xbox Wire news feed, Playground Games creative director Mike Brown said his team worked in partnership with both Xbox and the disability community to incorporate a large scope of accessibility features in the game.
The majority of these accessibility options will be fully functional at launch, and “coming soon” will be the choice of triggering a picture-in-picture display of a sign language interpreter.
Players will choose between American Sign Language (ASL) or British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters, who will appear any time an in-game cinematic plays.
Brown also listed the accessibility features that will be available in the game at launch, including:
- A Game Speed Modification setting that allows players to slow down the game when playing offline.
- A High Contrast mode that changes colors to make things such as menus and text more distinguishable.
- A Color Blindness mode that enables players with color blindness to view game elements easier. This can be independently adjusted for UI and game visuals.
- Subtitle customisation, including options to:
- Turn subtitles on or off
- Change font size
- Alter the background opacity
- Highlight key words
- The option to customise menu and gameplay font size
- A screen reader narrator that reads aloud text, buttons, and other elements
- Text-to-speech and speech-to-text options for players that want to participate in Voice Chat and either need to send synthesised voice or receive voice chat as synthesised text
- The ability to deactivate moving backgrounds
- A notification duration setting, which enables players to set the length of time notifications appear in the game
This is the latest effort by Xbox to better incorporate accessibility options in both its games and its console ecosystem.
Last month, it was announced that Xbox is adding accessibility tags to its digital store, to help players with disabilities tell whether a game is suitable for them.
Each list will consist of a selection of 20 tags, each corresponding to specific accessibility features. According to an Xbox blog post, these features, based on user research, are what players commonly requested, and include:
- Narrated game menus
- Subtitle options
- Input remapping
- Full keyboard support
- Single stick gameplay
- No button holds
In order to qualify as an accessible game, developers will have to meet specific standards to have each tag applied, ie., for a game to earn the ‘subtitle options’ tag, its subtitles must be a specified size, and also need to have an option to increase their size by up to 200%.