Star Wars Jedi: Survivor’s accessibility options kept me from turning to the dark side

Star Wars: Jedi Survivor is Respawn’s version of The Empire Strikes Back. As Jedi Survivor has the advantage of being a sequel, it can acknowledge criticism from its predecessor and iterate by adjusting certain gameplay elements.

“I love premieres. Good or bad, they’re always memorable.” -Ashoka Tano

Jedi: Fallen Order had some serious accessibility hurdles, from the lack of full button remapping to the lack of a toggle for hold inputs and a particularly indecipherable map. It was the only Star Wars game in the history of time and space that I couldn’t complete, and the existence of accessibility barriers constantly made me consider turning to the dark side. .

The Darkest Age of the Jedi Order is the perfect foundation for Respawn to explore the evolution of the Jedi, recognize unhealthy traditions that needed to be forgotten, and define the type of Jedi Cal wants to be. Personally, it’s the type of narrative that grabs me, discovering heroes in the crushing darkness of the Empire and making the difficult decision to stay in the light.

Here’s the latest Star Wars Jedi: Survivor trailer to show it off in action.

“In a dark place we find ourselves and a little more knowledge lights our way.” -Yoda

Fortunately, Jedi: Survivor really amazed me with the level of accessibility options available. The level of accessibility support demonstrates a huge shift in Respawn’s design philosophy. In this blog post, Morgan Baker, Head of EA’s Accessibility Program, explains, “At Electronic Arts, we strive to reduce and eliminate unnecessary accessibility barriers so that everyone can enjoy our games. Respawn shows true dedication to our accessibility commitments in Jedi: Survivor by considering accessibility from the start, making it a central part of their design process.”

Respawn really understood the importance of accessibility and chose best practice by involving the disabled gaming community from the start. Megan Baker continues, “Embracing the disability community’s mantra, ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’, Respawn’s Accessibility Champions gathered direct feedback from the community to inform their design choices and options. accessibility”.

“In my book, experience takes precedence over everything.” – Clone Captain Rex

I’ll focus on discussing accessibility settings that have helped me benefit from my personal experience, but the plethora of options available to gamers with various disabilities is impressive.

Star Wars Jedi Survivor review - screenshot showing Cal and BD-1 talking to a green alien with a sombrero and thumbs in his belt

The surprising issue with the Force Pull toggle is that it works during combat to rip a shield off a stormtrooper, but oddly it doesn’t seem to work during complex puzzle situations that require you to force a mine or orb and pull it. carry around the environment.

For starters, Cal Kestis is no longer the only person with the Force-Slow ability, you also get the power of Chronokinesis with the added Slow mode toggle. It’s a conscious design choice to allow players with slow reactions or motor disabilities to adjust the world action to fit their preferred challenge during combat and platforming. I’ve used this toggle during complicated platforming sequences where you have to chain together multiple traversal mechanics like jumps, dashes, and throwing your grappling hook in quick succession. This finger gymnastics would have been an accessibility issue for me, but this option alleviates the stress factor of failure or multiple attempts to waste energy. Jedi: Survivor has the blueprint for triple-A developers to first design the Slow Mode toggle and second demonstrate how future games might implement it.

Elsewhere, I always advocate for games to include full button remapping and Jedi: Survivor has one of the best implementations of the year. The level of transparency provided means that every button and action can be positioned to work with your abilities, and remapping takes this a step further by allowing players to adjust button assignments for multiple button actions like throwing your lightsaber.

Star Wars Jedi Survivor review - screenshot showing Cal and BD-1 looking at a sprawling statue on Jedha

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.

Jedi: Survivor has a new feature called Focus Mode, which allows Cal to use multiple Force powers like Confused by holding R1 (or RB) and pressing a face button. I’ve regularly used Confuse tactically to get temporary help from the huge beasts in the environment to thin out the herd of stormtroopers, or by Force Pulling a stormtrooper towards me and having them fire at their allies. I would have struggled to harness the full power of the Force if I hadn’t been able to remap the default combination of R1 + face buttons.

The only misstep with the remapping process is that it requires you to press the button you want to assign. It’s difficult for many gamers if it comes down to pressing a button that they can’t press easily. Personally, I’d prefer remapping to use a drop-down menu that includes each remappable button when choosing your preferred control layout.

“You can no more prevent change than you can prevent the suns from setting.” -Shmi Skywalker

Moving on, Jedi: Survivor has a cleverly designed single shortcut button to add multiple inputs when you press the Touchpad (or Menu) button and then a face button. The shortcut button lets you access your Holomap and choose to enable accessibility features such as Slow Mode toggle or Audio Ping navigation assistant. It’s an elegant solution for accessing accessibility features while increasing the number of buttons available on a controller.

Jedi: Survivor demonstrates that a sequel obviously needs to up the ante with the narrative, and the design team expanded the combat through five different stances. Most importantly, they weren’t satisfied until they could scale accessibility. The game still has some accessibility issues, especially regarding the Holomap – but there’s still time for Return of the Jedi to complete an epic trilogy perfectly.

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