The Last of Us 2 (opens in new tab) is Naughty Dog’s most accessible game ever thanks to dozens of granular accessibility settings, some of which totally overhaul the way the game is presented.
Lead gameplay designer Emilia Schatz and lead systems designer Matthew Gallant discussed the game’s accessibility options with The Verge (opens in new tab). Schatz says that Naughty Dog focused more on accessibility after receiving a letter from an Uncharted 2 fan who couldn’t finish a part of the game due to a button-mashing quick-time event, but while later Uncharted games integrated more options, The Last of Us 2 is on a whole other level for the studio.
“Accessibility for us is about removing barriers that are keeping players from completing a game,” Schatz says. “It’s not about dumbing down a game or making a game easy. What do our players need in order to play the game in parity with everyone else?”
With this in mind, Naughty Dog created “around 60” accessibility settings for the upcoming sequel, according to The Verge. These range from the usual features like adjustable UI, subtitle colors, and remappable controls to the more robust, including full text-to-speech support, a magnifying tool which uses the DualShock 4 touchpad, and a high-contrast mode designed for the visually impaired.
The high-contrast filter may be the game’s most impressive setting. It completely changes how the world is rendered: environments are grayed out to make blue friendly NPCs and red enemies pop out. Gallant says that ground-up features like this filter were only possible because Naughty Dog started planning for them at the start of development.
Other Naughty Dog developers discussed the game’s focus on accessibility on Twitter (opens in new tab), with director Neil Druckmann calling its suite of features “industry-defining.” In a similar vein, game designer Asher Einhorn said (opens in new tab), “For all the incredible design in the game, I think this is going to have the biggest impact in our industry,” adding that “many more people will be able to play this game than the first.”
The more people who can play The Last of Us 2, the better. And as we said in our latest Last of Us 2 preview (opens in new tab), it’s going to be one hell of a ride.