The introduction of fully customizable options in an E3 style demo state is a “first for the industry”.
Ubisoft has achieved a “first for the industry” with its Ubisoft Forward event when it comes to accessibility. The company not only invited disabled creators and outlets to try the early version of Watch Dogs Legion, but there were also fully customizable accessibility options present.
For many, these last few months should have been E3-focused months, but due to the coronavirus causing lockdowns and making travel pretty much impossible, companies have started to adopt streamed events in the wake of E3 2020 being cancelled. However, if E3 was still going ahead, playable demos available at booths or private rooms for hands-on impressions would have been present, but most likely not available for disabled creators and outlets due to possible travel restrictions, or maybe even lack of options available for them to experience the game in the way they require.
With Ubisoft Forward, disabled creators and outlets were invited alongside other video game outlets to try Watch Dogs Legion out from the comfort of their home through the use of streaming technology.
In addition, the game had a wealth of accessibility features available to allow the player to set up any accessibility settings needed to play the game to their preferences. This meant that disabled creators and outlets could write up or record their impressions ahead of release rather than waiting for the game to launch to be able to finally see what options are available post-launch.
Ubisoft’s accessibility manager, Cherry Thompson says that this is a “first for the industry” in which the company hosts an E3 style demo with these options present and customizable. They also mention that this was made possible by Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs Legion team in Toronto and Kiev. The accessibility team at the company has previously told DualShockers that the goal is to help make accessibility a part of the company’s DNA.
V happy to talk about something incredibly important:@Ubisoft Forward we did a first for the industry: we had an E3 style demo with a suite of customization features (options) & invited accessibility focused content creators to preview
It was a HUGE effort from many @ Ubi ? https://t.co/fEDYBWW7Wa
— Cherry Thompson ? (@cherryrae) July 14, 2020
Including disabled content creators and outlets to experience the game so they can talk about accessibility allows an audience otherwise ignored or forgotten about to be informed about the state of accessibility in a game. Other outlets only seem to touch on the gameplay from an abled point of view. So this is certainly a good move from Ubisoft and one I hope to see other studios taking into account in the near future.
Of course, at current, Ubisoft, on top of the recent Ubisoft Forward event, has been in the process of investigating and making changes to the company, seeing major executives stepping down after allegations of abuse and sexual misconduct have been made public.