top of page

The Accessibility of Horizon: Forbidden West

Updated: May 13

To start off, this is an informal critique of the UI and Accessibility settings within the 2022 PlayStation exclusive, Horizon: Forbidden West.

In my opinion, PlayStation games are usually the strongest when it comes to Accessibility features. I feel like they are usually held as the standard for a lot of Accessibility goals within the Gaming industry. My favorite example for accessibility in games is The Last of Us Part II. They have it all: a webpage listing the options, multiple cognitive UI solutions, auditory, visual, physical...

So where is this care and standard for Horizon: Forbidden West?

I know that the answer is simply "two different game studios", but why? Why isn't there oversight about these things from PlayStation?

This is something I'm hoping to get more out of with Activision. I'd like for there to be a better standard with our games. Having more accessibility features results in more players. Who wouldn't want that?

Anyways, the problem with Horizon: Forbidden West.

It's an amazing game, don't get me wrong... But it's really hard to look at. I've noticed this in the first installment, too.

Note how the textures, while nice and detailed, make it difficult to see the main character?

My proposition is that the team implements some kind of special shader on the player character.

There was a point where I found a shaded spot of trees and stepped in. Note, the contrast. You can easily differentiate what's in the foreground and what's in the background. There's DEPTH, there's CLARITY. I just think "fudging" something like this in-engine with shaders may be a viable solution.

Or, another solution, have a setting to turn down texture fidelity.

I personally would rather be able to see my character and not get overwhelmed by my surroundings then feel like I'm in a picturesque world.

I could go off about how "it probably breaks the vision of the creative team, a majority of which are photographers", but I will leave it at that for now.

In addition, color blindness concerns! I'd really like to see Guerilla take a stab at some color blindness or color slider options. I think that this is the game that needs color sliders the most.

Now, rapid-fire problems and solutions!

Text on the HUD is hard to see. In total, I noticed around 4-5 different text-shadow treatments at different times. I personally think that only one or two of them work and are strong enough.

The text should all have either the same black gradient behind, or a thicker, wider drop shadow behind their text. I also vote that they keep it consistent.

Button cues!

This game has a new Valor System that I've never used. I have a slight cognitive disability, learning new things can be tedious, so using this system was hard.

See that full purple/pink bar on the bottom right of the HUD? That was full for my entire year of gameplay. Why? There were no button prompts or reminders. Not in the frontend, nor in the menus! I never re-learned which button to hit, so I never used it.

This leads into another lacking feature: button mapping.

There is no custom button mapping. This is HORRIBLE as an accessibility concern. They at LEAST let you change button mapping presets, but that doesn't fix the situation of someone missing an appendage and not being able to use certain buttons.

All in all, there are a lot of accessibility concerns that need to be addressed within Horizon: Forbidden West. I hope that these items get fixed within the foreseeable future.

[5/01/2023 UDATE]


15 views0 comments
bottom of page