Insomniac Games detailed Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart’s extensive accessibility settings on Thursday. The studio went over the PlayStation 5 game’s entire options slate, showing off features that will help even more players experience the inter-dimensional romp.
Accessibility has been a growing focus for Sony and its first-party studios in recent years. The Last of Us Part 2 boasted some of the industry’s most extensive accessibility features to date, and Insomniac’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales also had suite of impressive features. Other games, including Bend Studio’s Days Gone, have received additional accessibility support post-launch. Insomniac’s latest entry in the beloved Ratchet & Clank series is looking to carry that torch and building a foundation for increased accessibility options in the future.
“Developing games that are playable and inclusive for people from a wide variety of backgrounds is critical to our mission at Insomniac Games,” Insomniac Games tweeted on Thursday, celebrating the 10th annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day. The studio then listed a thread filled with accessibility offerings.
Rift Apart offers a ton of features that allow a breadth of Ratchet & Clank fans to have a good time. For example, one setting allows players to adjust their firing mode between a hold, toggle, or default. The default version requires players to tap, hold, or release the triggers based on the kinds of weapons they’re using. The hold option lets players just hold the button down to fire most weapons, while the toggle mode will continuously fire non-single shot weapons. This simple sounding option can take a game that’s all about silly combat and make it accessible for players that have difficulty pulling triggers frequently or tapping buttons.
Similarly, players can customize their visual experience for Rift Apart. Fans can apply different shaders to things like hazards, collectibles, or even the hero themselves. These shaders, alongside high-contrast settings, can allow low-vision players to experience a graphically intensive game they otherwise may need to skip.
As accessibility advocate Stephen Wilds wrote for Polygon around the release of The Last of Us Part 2, these kinds of features are great for all players. A player with low visibility may need these options to play, but players with more precise vision may turn on collectible shaders just to ensure they don’t miss a Golden Bolt. It just gives fans more options, whether they need them or want them.
The same principal applies to difficulty settings, of which Rift Apart offers four. Giving easy difficulty options for those that aren’t able to play at a higher level is just as important as options that make the game hyper-difficult for players that enjoy that challenge. But more difficulty modes serve multiple purposes, as it makes the game accessible to people who rarely play video games but find Clank too charming to resist.
These features vary from convenient to necessary. And these accessibility settings can be the difference between a player enjoying a new game and being unable to play it without assistance.
“This is driven mainly by a group of Insomniacs who are just really passionate about accessibility,” Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart game director Mike Daly told Polygon in an interview. “We have an internal user research department which does a lot of work to assess how accessible our games are [and] to try and standardize our options to be on par with the industry and make them portable from game to game — just to make sure that we have as much of a leg up as possible on getting the game to be playable by the broadest audience we can. And on top of that, one of our gameplay pillars this time around was we want to be enjoyable by the broadest audience ever. Accessibility is a big part of that, because players who otherwise have a lot of challenges playing an intense game like this, it was not even an option for them.
“That’s also what motivated us to make sure that we support a super broad set of difficulty options. We know that we want this game to be enjoyable by younger players. There’s also people who’ve been playing Ratchet & Clank for 19 years and need the hardest setting to really get their fix and feel satisfied. So we’ve invested a lot in making sure the game feels right across that entire spectrum of reflexes, dexterity, vision, hearing, all that.”
Accessibility is an important development philosophy for the developers at Insomniac Games, and it’s something the team sounds passionate about carrying forward with future games. “Like with Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, we’re able to transfer new features from game to game and are building a foundation that will grow our accessibility features and allow our games to reach more players. This is a key part of our mission to enrich the lives of people from a wide range of backgrounds and abilities,” Insomniac wrote in Thursday’s blog post.
For years, games and developers have left willing and interested players behind due to a lack of accessibility features. The Last of Us Part 2, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and now Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart are all signs that the industry is shifting to be more inclusive.