Playground Games is planning to introduce sign language support for cutscenes in Forza Horizon 5 alongside its arsenal of accessibility features.
In an Xbox News Wire post, creative director Mike Brown said the team “made it a priority to incorporate accessibility features” throughout development, writing “we want everyone in the world to be able to experience our game, and with more than an estimated 400 million gamers with disabilities across the globe, it is vital that all players be able to tailor their gameplay in a way that works best for them.”
Horizon 5 is already launching with a bundle of handy features, like customisable subtitles, text-to-speech, colourblind filters and an incredibly handy slider that lets you change the offline game speed—meaning people can tailor the speed of your car, NPC cars and Mexican environment. Brown said the feature is “great for newcomers and those who would like more time to progress through the game.” You can also toggle moving backgrounds on or off and set how long notifications stay popped up.
Brown says the team is “constantly listening to the community to make Forza Horizon 5 an inclusive experience for everyone to enjoy,” announcing that support for both American Sign Language and British Sign Language will be coming at a later date. It's still just a vague window of “shortly after launch,” but the team gave a quick demo of how the feature will work. During cutscenes, the interpreter should pop up picture-in-picture near the bottom of the screen.
I'm very fortunate that I only occasionally need subtitles to fully enjoy games, but accessibility in games is an ongoing issue and still under-addressed in 2021. As Ruth wrote when diving into whether PC gaming was truly for everyone, “accessibility isn't a one-size-fits-all solution, as not all disabled people have the same needs.” Forza Horizon 5 is already shaping up to be an excellent experience—Phil loved it in his review, and this weekend saw 800,000 people playing despite the game not technically being out until November 9.