Numinous Games, the studio behind 2014’s The Dragon, Cancer, has announced a programme for developing more accessible games. The Playability Initiative will, in concert with existing accessibility bodies like AbleGamers, produce games and help develop tech that makes gaming available for all.
The first game, courtesy of GamesIndustry.biz, is Painted Waters, a free, all-ages multiplayer adventure game that uses one-button, designed to teach children and young people about empathy, creativity, and social dynamics. AbleGamers is assisting in the development of one of the modes that will assess an individual player’s accessibility needs and preferences, and recommend adaptive technology, and other games, accordingly.
“At AbleGamers Charity, our mission is to enable play to combat social isolation for people with disabilities,” AbleGamers COO Steven Spohn said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to support Numinous Games in creating a digital playground that allows children with disabilities to express themselves creatively, flex their imaginations, and most importantly, to play, just like anyone else.” Other disability representatives and collaborators are involved, and the group is actively looking for more.
The Playability Initiative is also working to include a disability modifier in this year’s Games For Change design competition, update the Family Video Game Database with accessibility search criteria, and create teaching materials for design modules. Making games easier to access for disabled players is becoming more and more mainstream in the industry, from Xbox’s adaptive controller, which has inspired adaptive gaming kits from companies like Logitech, to SpecialEffect’s work on From Software’s Sekiro: Heroes Die Twice.
AbleGamers launched a site last year that allowed players give feedback on accessibility needs in specific games. The Playability Initiative is a welcome addition to the effort – you can sign up for the newsletter for all updates here.