Whether it’s welcome additions to navigation in next-gen consoles or impressive suites of accessibility options in AAA video games, improvements in video game and hardware accessibility have been particularly evident in 2020.
This is our winner for the most noteworthy advancement in accessibility this year.
The Last of Us Part 2 launched with an astounding 60+ accessibility options, allowing disabled players an unprecedented level of customization to design a play experience that best suits them. Pioneering features for blind players like High Contrast Modes, Zoom, full Text-To-Speech narration, navigational assistance truly makes this so any blind player can play and complete this game. It also innovated for deaf/hard of hearing and motor disabled players with fully custom subtitle options, dodge prompts, controller remapping, auto pickup, auto-aim, and more.
For more, check out our full The Last of Us Part 2 review here!
The panel of judges who voted in this category are Steve Saylor, Courtney Craven, Grant Stoner, Ian Hamilton, Stacey Jenkins, and Greg Haynes. Check out their work at Can I Play That? and Blind Gamer with Steve Saylor.
Below, you’ll find the rest of our nominees for the most noteworthy advancement in accessibility.
Noteworthy Advancement in Accessibility for 2020
Click through the gallery above or scroll down for the full list!
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Building on the accessibility features of 2018’s Spider-Man, Miles Morales brought the franchise to an even more inclusive level. Not just regarding options, but in representation: Hailey the artist is Deaf/Hard of Hearing and interacts with Miles in American Sign Language. Features like Chase Assist, Contrast Modes with solid single color allies and enemies, and a wealth of subtitle options make Miles Morales among the most accessible games of 2020.
For more, check out our full Spider-Man: Miles Morales review here!
Solo developer Charles McGregor enlisted the help of GLITCH and accessibility consultant Cherry Thompson to not only create a majorly accessible game, but an inclusive development process too. Through #HyperDotA11y, a research campaign, the team worked with disabled players to ensure HyperDot launched with as few barriers as possible. The results were an addictively fun action arcade game that earned rave reviews from disabled players.
Immortals Fenyx Rising
Well known for its commitment to accessibility, Ubisoft had yet another success with Immortals Fenyx Rising. Immortals included helpful features seen in past Ubisoft games, such as customizable subtitles, multiple difficulty levels, and menu narration, but what makes Immortals stand out in 2020 is the attention to puzzle accessibility. It features both puzzle captions, designed to inform players of contextual information and its location, as well as unique “helpers” for each puzzle type. Think of it as an assist mode for puzzles.
Check out our full Immortals Fenyx Reising review here!
Gears Tactics took a genre not well known for its accessibility offerings and made it so those who have never been able to play RTS style games before can play this. Features like colorblind modes, larger text, and Text-To-Speech narration, or as the game calls it “Let the game read to me”, make Gears Tactics a stand-out. These features only improved when Gears Tactics was ported to consoles, where even more settings like zoom and full support for controllers were added.
Check out our full Gears Tactics review here!
Those are our picks for the noteworthy advancement in accessibility in 2020 – let us know in the comments what’s on your list that didn’t make ours.
Check out all our platform, genre, and design award winners – and, of course, our pick for this year’s GotY – below!
Best Games by Platform
Best Games by Genre
Game Development and Craft Awards
Be sure to check out all of our other Game of the Year award winners as well as our picks for the best movies, TV shows, comics, and anime of 2020!