Street Fighter 6’s innovative accessibility settings represent a major step forward for visually impaired players and the genre

Street Fighter 6’s innovative accessibility settings represent a major step forward for visually impaired players and the genre

Fighting games are a universal language that has built so many bridges around the world, and Capcom is trying to do more to ensure that everyone can enjoy the heat of battle.

One of the Street Fighter 6The most innovative features come not from its core mechanics, but from the accessibility settings that aim to help visually impaired players.

In SF6’s options menu, there’s an audio settings tab that goes far deeper than any other fighting game we can imagine.

Using detailed sound effect volume settings and accessibility settings during battle, players can fully customize how loud and quiet everything sounds, from kicks, to footsteps, and even clothing movement.

This can be taken a step further by adding new sound effects to the game to give information on how far characters are from each other, meter level, what attack power is used and even if a move is crossed.

All of these options allow the game to be fully experienced through audio if needed.

We don’t recall ever seeing another fighting game approach the level of accessibility and customization offered in SF6, and trying to search for other examples turned up nothing — but please correct us in the comments if we’re wrong here.

“Played more with the #sf6 beta,” he 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 out. I’ll be writing up my experiences and suggestions for making things even better later this week! Well done Capcom so far!”

BlindWarriorSven is an awesome Street Fighter 5 player who broke into the Ultra Diamond rank earlier this year without the help of all these options, so it’s good to see he likes what he’s heard so far.

We had a chance to speak with Sven about his personal thoughts and feelings on the SF6 options now that he’s had more time to experiment with them and reflect on the experience, and he still sounds pretty positive about what’s out there.

The dark horse: How much time have you spent trying out the new audio accessibility settings in the beta and what were your first impressions?

BlindWarriorSven: Along with my friend MrJoe94, I tested the SF6 beta for many hours last weekend. Most of the testing focused on audio accessibility options, as well as Battle Hub navigation. So what we did was we turned on all the audio accessibility options, started a head-to-head match, and found out what audio signals I could hear.

After each match, we turned off the accessibility feature to see what difference it made. My first impression is that Capcom is doing a great job implementing these features. Some of them are more useful to me than others, but I think they can be helpful to both beginners and advanced blind players. It’s a great start, but there’s room for improvement.

The dark horse: Which of the audio features do you think is the biggest game changer and how does it change the way you can play the game?

BlindWarriorSven: Personally, I think a “high/normal/low” attack sound option will be very useful, especially when Capcom adds my suggested feedback regarding this feature in an upcoming update.

The reason this accessibility feature is important is that it is now much easier to hear if an attack was a normal attack or a low attack. This could be very useful, especially on the block. In SF5, for example, a hard kick from a standing position or a swing can sound very similar. And where a heavy spot kick might be safe, swing is not. So I’m hoping to get even better at punishing specific block attacks with this feature.

The dark horse: Are there any settings that you still think need to be tweaked and are there any that you would like to see added to the game?

BlindWarriorSven: I just submitted my feedback to Capcom with about 15 to 20 tweaks that I think could be very useful for both beginners and advanced blind players. So let me choose one of them.

When you look at the accessibility options, there is an option that will activate a beep to indicate the distance between signs. During the match, a constant sound will be heard, which will change from low to high pitch.

While this can be very useful in training mode for practicing spacing and the like, in a real match it can be a bit 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 the opponent is.

The dark horse: Have you ever played a game with similar accessibility settings, and if so, how do they compare to what SF6 does?

BlindWarriorSven: Within the fighting game scene, I have yet to see a game with these accessibility features. I think Killer Instinct for Xbox and PC comes close to this.

In other game genres, I have seen games with similar accessibility features, but most of those games were specifically made for blind players. But games like Hearthstone (with the Hearthstone accessibility patch), The Last of Us Part II, and Kilta (released in 2022) are games that put a lot of effort into accessibility for blind players.

The dark horse: How many of those options do you think you’ll use throughout the game?

BlindWarriorSven: To be honest, I don’t know yet. After all, I became a high-level SF5 player without most of the accessibility features available. So I think I’ll start playing SF6 as simple as possible and slowly add some of those features when I think I’ll need them to improve my game.

But one thing I will definitely turn off is the ambient sound effects. Nothing worse than not being able to hear what your opponent is doing due to a box exploding after a knockdown or heavy rain and thunder during a fight.

Since this was a beta test for the game, there’s a good chance these options will be further tweaked as well, although it’s great to see where it is already.

While there are many features that fighting games should copy from each other, we really hope to see similarly expanded accessibility settings in the future, whether it’s new releases or maybe even updates for existing titles.

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