With a long press release, which we report below, Sony and Insomniac Games talked about the extensive accessibility options that developers specifically designed to enhance the experience in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.
Before leaving you to all the information, we remind you that Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will be available exclusively on PS5 from 11 June.
Insomniac Games is a software house very attentive to the creation of games that have a positive and lasting influence on people’s lives. This, of course, also includes developing titles that are approachable and inclusive for people from a wide range of backgrounds. Among these, there are a large number of players with disabilities who have needs that fall into one of the 4 main categories of accessibility: sight, hearing, motor / dexterity and cognition.
Insomniac’s work on accessibility began with Marvel’s Spider-Man released in 2018. For the implementation of the first features, the studio worked with consultants, focusing on a short list of features that would have a greater impact. This, for example, included high-contrast subtitles, options for using buttons instead of quick presses, and the ability to bypass QTE sequences and puzzles. These simple features have provided the necessary support for deaf or hard-of-hearing people and all those who have problems with sequences that require pronounced motor or cognitive skills.
Following the release of Marvel’s Spider-Man, the development studio has received a wave of positive feedback from the disabled community and this has further strengthened the team’s commitment to adding more accessibility features to Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered for PlayStation 5, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and, of course, the upcoming Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, which will be the first Ratchet & Clank game with a list of accessibility features.
Accessibility in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Starting with the core functionality of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, the approach to Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart was pretty straightforward: transfer those adapted features and study which features could fit into Ratchet’s unique gameplay. Here are some of the most important features.
Contrast options are designed to bring out the most key information in the game world, designed for blind or visually impaired players. These features were included in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and adapted for Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. The menu section includes the High Contrast Background and Shader for a variety of categories; players can use each setting independently or use them together. Once enabled, these settings can be quickly toggled on and off with a link, which will be covered later.
The contrast options they will include the shader for the herothe allies ei enemieswith ten color choices.
For the enemies, we chose to include a single shader and one for the bosses because the silhouettes are different and easier to differentiate. In the latest State of Play you can see how it has been used in certain types of enemies: from horned toads to spiky wasps in Sargasso to evil soldiers of all shapes and sizes in Nefarious City.
We’ve created three new shader categories – Interactable, Hazard, and Collectible – to make key elements stand out when exploring or in battle.
In Nefarious City, there is a sequence where Ratchet has to alternate wall runs; activation of the shader Interactable will highlight key objects for better visibility amidst the hustle and bustle of the neon-lit environment;
The shader Hazard it will be essential in all those hectic situations such as arena combat where players may need to quickly distinguish objects that damage Ratchet or Rivet and that are not enemies, such as explosive crates;
With the Shader from Collectible you can highlight hard to find treasures like gold bolts.
Shortcuts and Game Speed
The shortcuts included in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales have gotten fantastic feedback from players. The combos and final abilities have been made more accessible to all those players who find it difficult to press multiple buttons at the same time.
In Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, all four D-pad buttons are set to Quick Weapons Selection so that players can quickly switch to their favorite guns. Each of the buttons on the D-pad can be remapped to various options, such as activating and deactivating features related to contrast, using your own weapon or performing a crash attack from above.
Among the shortcut options, we find the game speed options, which the team is very proud of. Options have been added to support cognitive and motor accessibility, preventing players from feeling overwhelmed in combat or having difficulty pressing keys quickly in moving situations.
Players can assign 70%, 50%, or 30% speed to shortcut buttons. Pressing the assigned hotkey will slow down the game to the chosen speed and pressing it again will return the speed to 100%.
In a boss fight where time to react is of the essence, being able to slow down your speed could help;
The speed of play could also be useful in those sessions, especially in Nefarious City, where you have to press the buttons quickly to go through different sections;
The speed of play also allows you to avoid possible attacks from enemies in moments when you are distracted.
Accessibility for weapons
Simplifying the use of the controller is a very useful function, as very often the hands can get tired easily. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will include a submenu dedicated to just that.
Since weapons are one of the unique elements of Ratchet & Clank, players will have several options for firing their arsenal. Users will be able to choose three different fire modes: Standard, Pressed or Enable / Disable.
- In Standard, weapon controls include all classic features
- When pressed, allows some weapons to fire repeatedly even if they don’t normally allow it
- Enable / Disable, allows some weapons to fire until you decide to block them.
Weapons with low ammo counts or low rate of fire, such as the Splinter Bomb, will always fire single shot so players can choose when and how to use them.
In addition to our different options for firing mode, we also offer “Hold down” and “Toggle for aiming” options, easy access to the weapon wheel and reduced sway. The above options are just some of the accessibility features offered in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. Here you can see the complete list.