When he talks about his latest video game, Toronto-based Jason Canam is most proud about his game’s accessibility options.
“Honestly, what we’ve done here has made the game better,” says Canam. “I just wanted as many gamers as possible to be able to try my game, and now we’ve ended up with something that went well beyond my original intention.”
Canam, founder of HouseHold Games, is talking about Way of the Passive Fist, an upcoming brawler game for Xbox One, PS4 and PCs via Steam.
Unlike a traditional fighting game where you kick, punch and even stab your enemies, in Way of the Passive Fist you dodge, parry and dash to outlast your enemies. By wearing down enemies, your hero can defeat them with only the power contained in the tip of their finger. It’s a refreshing take on a genre of games that has been around for a long time.
Working with Clint (Halfcoordinated) Lexa, Canama has made what he feels is a better game.
Lexa has a condition that limits the use of his right hand, meaning that he must play his video games with only his left hand. That hasn’t limited what Lexa can do. He holds all kinds of records for video games and, in particular, is a talented speedrunner – a gamer that is able to finish an entire game in less time than it takes most of us to get through the tutorial level.
“Most games have an easy, medium, and hard mode. Our game has over 200 permutations of difficulty, allowing each gamer to play their own way.”
Canam said he envisions gamers will share their experiences with each other when Way of the Passive Fist launches next year.
“People will say, ‘I beat the game as Way of the Bold Eternal Resilient Warrior – what did you do?'”
It’s not just about controls that were considered when thinking about accessibility in games. Canam also considered things such as colour blindness, ensuring the palette for the game wouldn’t create difficulties for those with this condition. It’s something that wouldn’t be an issue for those with regular vision, but can create an unplayable situation for others.
Canam isn’t the only one thinking about accessibility in games.
Microsoft has long offered special features in its operating systems and has also made big strides to be inclusive with video games. It has offered white papers encouraging developers to consider accessibility in their games and pointing out that as the world population grows, so does the need to make games playable and enjoyable to a wider audience.