by Jaime Rodriguez, RDPFS Intern
Over the past few years, many popular games have come onto the market, such as Elden Ring and Valhalla Assassin’s Creed, which have largely been inaccessible to many people. Individuals who are blind or have low vision, and those who are unable to distinguish between colors or are unable to read or interact with small subtitles or prompts, have been unable to participate fully in the gaming experience. A company called Descriptive Video Works seeks to change that with the help of audio description services, with a written script describing on-screen gameplay and content, matching game pacing and storyline. Currently, very few game studios focus on accessibility, as it is difficult to write a functional script that conveys important background details without blocking the narration and sound effects while describing imagery and gameplay dynamics fully. Due to these difficulties, game developers have been hesitant to incorporate audio description. However, once they work the kinks out, there could be a flood of games with accessibility options on the market. Audio Description for games and trailers works similarly to how it is used in TV and movies. Descriptive Video Works receives a copy of the game trailer before the launch date, views the video, and writes a script that uses evocative language to describe the game and gameplay without blocking out dialogue or sound effects. Rhys Lloyd, the Head of Descriptive Video Works, noted that the process to audio describe games and trailers involves various elements, such as choosing voice actors who help the viewer to identify the description from the primary content and match the vocal style and sound of a game. Their mantra is “Describe Everything,” and they hope that other developers will take up the initiative as well. To learn more, read the Nintendo Life article: “Feature: How Audio Description Can Make Trailers And Video Gaming More Accessible”.