All of us at Turn 10 Studios can’t wait for players to experience the generational leap in fidelity, immersion and realism when Forza Motorsport launches this year. Just as the team has been busy building the most technically advanced and authentic racing game we’ve ever made, we’re proud to have achieved another goal: Forza Motorsport is our most accessible game ever.
While there are several accessibility features to look forward to, and each one is important, on behalf of the team at Turn 10 I’m excited to share in-detail about a few of our new and innovative features that will enable more people to play.
Blind Driving Assists
Blind Driving Assists (BDA) is a feature set that was built for players who are Blind or have Low Vision. After years of research and feedback, we have spent the last two years building the feature with direct feedback from Accessibility Consultant and Blind gamer, Brandon Cole and others from the Gaming & Disability community. Throughout our development, Brandon and other Blind and Low Vision players have been providing invaluable real-time feedback to help us create and refine the various Blind Driving Assists.
Blind Driving Assists work by providing a set of supplemental audio cues designed to help Low/No Vision players navigate the tracks of Forza Motorsport. The feature set was driven by the Audio team at Turn 10 and built in close partnership with our accessibility team throughout development. Players can listen to detailed descriptions, as well as a preview of each audio cue they will encounter on-track from within the accessibility menu. Once the player has familiarized themselves with the different audible information, what they represent, and how they all interact with each other, they can head to the track to try out the feature.
Blind Driving Assists also provides players with audible information about their position and orientation on track, approach and progress through turns, as well as information about the car, such as how much deceleration is needed, when to shift (if playing with manual transmission) and more.
It was important to the entire team that Blind Driving Assists operate as a set of features, rather than a mode. We wanted Blind and Low Vision players to experience Forza Motorsport as it was intended, by providing the audible information that would allow them to make their own driving decisions. And because of this, Brandon will be the first to say to the Blind and Low Vision community that this feature is not ‘pick-up-and-play!’ There’s a learning curve while you discover how to drive by relying on the audio cues. Once players get used to it, we think it will be a game-changer. We’ll share more for the community closer to our launch.
One Touch Driving
Another innovation in Forza Motorsport is the ability to race with whatever amount and combination of inputs you need. To develop this feature, the team worked with Xbox User Research at different stages during development to bring in players with various mobility and stamina disabilities. These features are built for players who may have trouble pressing multiple buttons simultaneously, gripping a controller, or maintaining button pressure, and they allow deeper levels of car control customization than ever. From the basics like automatic shifting, through enhanced steering and braking assists, to the all-new throttle and pit entry assists, you can create the experience that’s right for you, and play your own way.
Something we are excited to offer to our players is a screen narration solution that can be adjusted to suit an individual’s preferences and informational needs to help them navigate and play the game. Making up the base of the system, we have volume, pitch, and speed controls, as well as the ability to select your narrator voice.
In the spirit of offering true customization, there are some brand new settings that provide control over screen narrator and its verbosity, such as reading list positions, navigational keywords, button hints, and more. This can help eliminate information overload and provide the ability to adjust as needed as players get more familiar with the game.
The Most Accessible Forza Motorsport Ever
The accessibility features in Forza Motorsport don’t stop there. Here’s a list of some of the many great accessibility features coming to Forza Motorsport.
- Blind Driving Assists: Blind and Low Vision players can use informational audio content during gameplay that will help them navigate tracks, improve their lap times, and complete races. Players will be able to enable each set of cues individually as well as adjust their pitch and volume to best suit their needs.
- One Touch Driving: Players have the option to choose their own combination of enabling braking, steering, and throttle assists to reduce the number of simultaneous inputs required. These driving assists will allow users to customize their driving experience and play with as few or as many assists as they wish.
- Screen Narrator: Players can enable narrator to receive information conveyed through the UI and to help navigate menus. In addition, there will be options for players to customize the narration system, offering new flexibility to choose what information is conveyed.
- Dynamic Audio Description: Players will have in-game cinematics with custom audio descriptions that change based on time of day and weather conditions.
- Text-to-Speech/Speech-to-Text: Players can utilize these options to participate in multiplayer voice chat to send synthesized voice to other players using text-to-speech or view incoming communication from other players in text form, utilizing speech-to-text.
- UI Colorblindness Modes: Players with tritanopia, deuteranopia, or protanopia can change certain colors in the UI theme so that UI information and focus states can be easily distinguished, as desired.
- World Colorblindness Filters: Players with tritanopia, deuteranopia, or protanopia can add a filter to the rendering of 3D objects like tracks, cars, drivers, in-game cinematics, etc. to make color information distinguishable, as desired.
- Controller Remapping: Gameplay controls can be remapped through the settings, offering additional flexibility to a players’ desired control scheme.
- Subtitles: Players can enable subtitles, as well as adjust subtitle font size and subtitle background opacity.
- Audio Customization Settings: Players are able to independently customize the volume of various groups of sounds to create their preferred audio experience.
- Opponent Difficulty: Players can customize opponent driving levels when racing with AI.
- Text Scaling: Players can adjust their menu text to various scaling options. In-game HUD will also have some re-sizing support.
- Contrast: Players can raise the contrast for UI and HUD elements from the default to varying additional tiers, each providing higher contrast ratios to improve readability.
- Moving Backgrounds: Players can disable moving backgrounds, making it easier to read or navigate menus.
Turn 10’s commitment to accessibility is ongoing. We’re always listening to players and striving to create features for more players to play the games they love. We’re incredibly proud of the work being done to empower more players than ever before to experience Forza Motorsport.
Forza Motorsport is coming this year to Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Series X|S consoles, Windows PC and Steam, and Cloud Gaming (Beta). Stay tuned for more!