The highly-anticipated Forza Horizon 5 wants to appeal to everyone, and it’s doing its best to make itself as accessible to as many fans as possible.
The entertainment industry, in general, is slowly taking steps to make the world deaf friendly. Deaf actors and actresses are starting to appear in commercials and more and more popular franchises, such as “The Walking Dead” and Marvel’s recent “Eternals” film, which features the MCU’s first Deaf superhero Makkari played by Deaf actress Lauren Ridloff.
Even despite deaf characters becoming more and more common on-screen, the Deaf community is still struggling to achieve access to accessible communication. Many online videos still lack captions, and many video games still lack subtitles to help fans understand the storylines in their favorite games.
Forza Horizon 5 is not only adding captions to their cutscenes, but they’re taking a giant leap forward to revolutionize accessibility for the Deaf Community.
Forza Horizon 5 Is Adding Sign Language Interpreters To Cutscenes
Sign language interpreters are hearing professionals that take information said in English and convey it into a signed language while maintaining dynamic, cultural equivalence.
The game will have sign language interpreters appear in the picture-in-picture display during cutscenes of the game so that Deaf individuals can understand what is being said in their native language.
Even though the game takes place in a fictionalized version of Mexico, the interpreters will only be available in two language options: American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL). It is unclear if they will later add Mexican Sign Language (LSM) or any other signed languages later on.
Although this feature will not be available when the game is released on November 9, Playground Games creative director Mike Brown said that it will be “coming soon.”
Brown added that they are “constantly listening to the community to make Forza Horizon 5 an inclusive experience for everyone to enjoy.”
The game will also feature several other accessibility features, such as a color blindness mode, a high contrast mode, customizable subtitles, and a narrator who reads text, buttons, and other game elements out loud for fans who might have difficulties seeing the screen.
“We want everyone in the world to be able to experience our game,” Brown continued. “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.”
Lauren Ridloff Advocates For Open Captions In Movie Theaters
Brown is not the only person using his platform to make it easier for people to enjoy their favorite activities.
Ridloff only accepted her role as the Marvel superhero after she had extensive talks with Disney about how accessible her portrayal would be to Deaf audiences.
She explained, “It’s been an ongoing conversation since I’ve joined and they are aware of how important it is to subtitle, how important subtitling is to me, and to the deaf community.”
Fortunately, she added that she was “really proud of how accessible the premiere was,” noting that they “had interpreters floating, ready for any deaf and hard of hearing audience viewers to participate.”
She was also pleased with the way they handled her character on screen, saying, “I kept wanting to check in about how we would actually reveal my Deafness in the storyline, and we finally got to a point where I felt like we could actually show Makkari as having a Deaf benefit or a Deaf gain. That’s a word that we use within the community to show the idea that being Deaf can actually be a good thing too, and we show that in the movie.”