Fighting games are a universal language that has built so many bridges across the world, and Capcom is trying to do more to make sure everyone can enjoy the heat of battle.
One of Street Fighter 6’s most innovative features comes not from its core mechanics, but rather from its accessibility settings to help visually impaired players.
Tucked away in SF6’s options menu is an audio settings tab that goes far beyond any other fighting game we can think of.
Through the use of detailed sound effects volume settings and in-battle accessibility settings, players can fully customize the volume and silence of sounds for everything from kicks to footsteps and even clothing movement.
— REM video game | BLM | 🡢 🡣 🡮 P (@_REMless) October 5, 2022
It can go a step further by adding new sound effects to the gameplay to give information about the distance between the characters from each other, the level of the meter, the attack strength used and even if a movement crosses.
Here’s the feature in action with background sounds and music removed so accessibility sounds can be heard better. pic.twitter.com/R8nngYe2uZ
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All of these options allow the gameplay to be fully experienced through audio cues if needed.
We don’t recall ever seeing another fighting game come close to the level of accessibility and customization offered in SF6, and attempting to find other examples offered nothing – but correct us in the comments if we we are wrong here.
I play more with the #sf6 beta. I am impressed with the additional audio options of this new @street fighter version. Glad to have been able to test them. Later this week I will write my experiences and suggestions to make things even better! Well done so far Capcom!
— BlindWarriorSven (@SvenvandeWege) October 9, 2022
“I played more with beta #sf6”, wrote BlindWarriorSven on Twitter. “I’m impressed with the additional audio options in this new version of @streetfighter. Glad I was allowed to test them. Later this week I’ll be writing my experiences and suggestions to make things even better! Cheers so far Capcom!”
BlindWarriorSven is an excellent Street Fighter 5 player who broke into Ultra Diamond rank earlier this year without using all of those options, so it’s nice to see he’s liking what he’s hearing so far. .
We had the chance to speak with Sven about his personal thoughts and feelings on the SF6 options now that he’s had more time to experience them and reflect on the experience, and he still seems pretty positive about what’s out there.
Black Horse: How long did you spend trying out the beta’s new audio accessibility settings, and what were your first impressions?
BlindWarriorSven: Together with my friend MrJoe94, I tested the beta version of SF6 for many hours last weekend. Most of the testing focused on audio accessibility options as well as navigating the Battle Hub. So we turned on all the audio accessibility options, started a match between us, and found out what audio cues I could hear.
After each match, we disabled an accessibility feature to see what differences it made. My first impression is that Capcom is doing a great job implementing these features. Some of them are more useful than others for me, but I think they can be useful for both beginners and advanced blind players. It’s a good start but there is room for improvement.
Black Horse: Which of the sound features do you think is the most game-changing and how does it change the way you can play the game?
BlindWarriorSven: Personally, I think the “high/normal/low” attack sound option will be very useful, especially when Capcom adds my suggested comments regarding this feature in an upcoming update.
The reason this accessibility feature is important is that it’s now much easier to hear if an attack was a normal attack or a weak attack. This could be very useful, especially on boulders. In SF5 for example, a standing heavy kick or sweep can look very similar. And where a standing heavy kick may be safe, a sweep is not. So hopefully with this feature I will be even better at punishing specific block attacks.
Black Horse: Are there any settings that you think still need to be adjusted and are there any that you would like to add to the game?
BlindWarriorSven: I just sent my feedback to Capcom With about 15-20 tweaks, which I think could be very helpful for beginners and advanced blind players alike. So let me pick one.
When you look in the accessibility options, there is an option that will activate an audio cue to indicate the distance between characters. During a match, there will be a constant sound that changes from a low pitch to a high pitch.
While this can be very useful in practice mode to practice spacing and the like, in a real match it can be a bit too much. A great addition would be an option that gives the player the ability to press a button to get a single tone to tell how far away an opponent is.
Black Horse: Have you ever played a game with similar accessibility settings, and if so, how do they compare to what SF6 does?
BlindWarriorSven: In the fighting game scene, I have yet to see a game with these accessibility features. I think Killer Instinct for Xbox and PC comes closest.
In other game genres, I’ve seen games with similar accessibility features, but most of these games were specifically designed for blind gamers. But games like Hearthstone (with the Hearthstone Access Patch), The Last of Us Part II, and Kilta (released in 2022) are games that have gone to great lengths when it comes to accessibility for blind players.
Black Horse: How many of these options do you plan to use in the full game?
BlindWarriorSven: To be honest, I don’t know yet. After all, I became a high-level SF5 reader without most of those accessibility features available. So I think I’ll start playing SF6 as simply as possible and slowly add some of these features when I think I need them to improve my gameplay.
But one thing that I will turn off for sure is the environmental sound effects. Nothing is worse than not being able to hear what your opponent is doing due to an exploding crate after being knocked over or heavy rain and thunder during a fight.
Since this was a beta test for the game, chances are these options will also be optimized, although it’s great to see where they are already.
While there are plenty of features that fighting games should just copy from each other, we really hope to see similarly extended accessibility settings in the future, whether it’s new releases or maybe even updates for existing titles.
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