There are many everyday things that we take for granted. For example, the ability to see. Very few video games are designed to accommodate people with any kind of vision impairment. Even if we’re not talking about blindness, something as common as nearsightedness is not typically considered when developing most video games. That’s why any progress towards greater accessibility in games is always good news.
The latest case of this is in Forza Motorsport. This is the eighth installment in the franchise of the same name, set to be released on October 10th for Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Microsoft Windows. It includes an interesting accessibility option called Blind Drive Assist. Essentially, it’s a mode that allows you to drive without needing to look at the screen.
How does this option work? Basically, the game will use different sounds to indicate when you should brake, accelerate, or when you’re getting too close to the track’s edge or other cars. This might sound confusing at first, but it’s essentially the audio equivalent of the visual aids found in many racing games. Instead of arrows and colored signs showing you what to do, there are sounds that guide you on how to drive optimally to finish the race.
To demonstrate how it works, content creator and accessibility consultant Steve Saylor made a video playing Forza Motorsport with Blind Drive Assist enabled. In the video, you can not only see how the system operates but also get a detailed explanation from Saylor himself. Additionally, there’s something that will surprise many people: thanks to this option, he managed to win a race. This is typically impossible for someone like Saylor, who has nystagmus, an involuntary eye movement condition that legally classifies him as visually impaired.
This highlights the importance and beauty of accessibility options. They enable individuals like Steve Saylor to play video games under the same conditions as anyone else who doesn’t have the same conditions they do.