Forza Motorsport Unveils Groundbreaking Audio Features Enabling Blind Players to Race with Ease

Forza Motorsport, one of Xbox’s flagship racing franchises, has announced a variety of new audio features designed to make the game playable by blind and visually impaired gamers. According to Xbox, these features were developed in close collaboration with blind playtesters and represent the most extensive accessibility options yet seen in a Forza game.

The features

The audio cues are designed to give players as much information as possible regarding the game’s various mechanics, track layouts, and other crucial points of information. Among the features available are:

  • Audio cues for turning and direction of turns
  • Beeps to alert players when they are approaching the edge of the track
  • Cues for when to shift gear (if playing with manual transmission)
  • Information on the player’s pole position and what lane they are in
  • Audio cues for details on corners and other elements of the track layout

Players can customize the audio features in setup to find the settings that work best for them. There are also options to customize the screen narrator, with volume, pitch, and speed options, as well as the option to customize how much the narrator speaks and what it reads on the screen to avoid information overload.

The consultation process

In a video on the official Xbox YouTube channel, the development team discuss how the accessibility features were created in close consultation with blind accessibility consultant Brandon Cole. Cole himself emphasizes that there may still be a learning curve for blind players, given that many of them will not have played a racing game or driven a car before. However, he notes that with practice, players can learn the tracks using the cues that the game provides.

Other accessibility features

In addition to the audio features, Forza Motorsport will also include numerous other accessibility options. Among these are “one-touch driving,” which allows players to make the most of a limited number of inputs, as well as individual aid-assists for braking, steering, and other driving mechanics. UI and world colorblindness filters will also be included.

Xbox has said it will provide more information on these features as the game’s release date approaches.

The gaming industry’s push towards accessibility

The development of extensive accessibility options in games has become an increasingly significant trend in the gaming industry over the past few years, with several major producers taking steps to make their titles more accessible to players with a range of physical and sensory disabilities. The push for accessibility options in games has come in response to advocacy from disability rights groups as well as a growing awareness on the part of game developers themselves that such features are in high demand from players.

Nevertheless, game developers still face numerous challenges in implementing accessibility options into their titles, ranging from software limitations to cost considerations. In some cases, developers need to rely on outside consultants and specialist testers with disabilities to ensure that their options are genuinely effective in practice.

Despite these challenges, the progress that has been made in recent years towards creating more accessible games has been celebrated as an essential step forward in making the gaming world more inclusive for players of all abilities.


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