The Game Bakers, developers of upcoming RPG Haven, have shared their ethos regarding accessibility in development. The studio says it tried to emphasize this aspect of the game "by default" rather than creating the game first and then implementing accessibility concessions afterward.
How has Haven incorporated accessibility?
The Game Bakers explained their process regarding accessibility in a Twitter thread. The studio says it wanted to "differentiate [its] approach" from most game development processes and design the game as accessible from the beginning. For example, rather than an option to increase text size, The Game Bakers tried to craft Haven with "big enough text for everyone"; the text size in Haven is larger than the largest text option in most triple-A games, according to The Game Bakers.
As a game developer, we really care about accessibility and overall usability. For Haven we dedicated a lot of work to improve on that, although we admit that much more could be done. We’ll be listening to feedback, but until then, here is a thread about what we did so far: pic.twitter.com/29Kg4ObF9p— The Game Bakers (@TheGameBakers) November 25, 2020
Other examples of this design philosophy at work include designing the color scheme to be appropriate for colorblind people and including contrasted backgrounds for subtitles by default. In addition, whenever a color code indicates a change in gameplay - health status, for example - characters will also change their animations so that color isn't the only feedback you're getting.
Will there still be accessibility options in Haven?
In a word, yes. The Game Bakers say that although they designed for accessibility, "there are still lots of cases" where you might want to change accessibility options. Haven will feature difficulty options similar to those present in masocore platformer Celeste, i.e. assist mode for combat and navigation challenges. You'll also be able to remap controls and change the functionality of certain commands; for example, a glide that usually requires holding down a button can be changed to a toggle instead.
Again, it's worth checking out the full Twitter thread if you want to see everything The Game Bakers are doing to ensure Haven is an accessible experience for everyone. The game is due to launch on PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One on December 3rd. Robust post-launch support is also planned, with The Game Bakers promising they will "keep improving the game and patching after release".
Are you looking forward to checking out Haven? Let us know in the comments below!