Forza Motorsport will offer accessibility for blind players to drive

Anna Koselke
Blind player driving in Forza Motorsport

Forza Motorsport is looking to make its gameplay experience more enjoyable for blind players by employing unique accessibility features during in-game driving sequences.

Arriving at some point in 2023, Forza Motorsport will bring with it improved gameplay and visual effects. Some of these improvements, however, are not easily accessible to many players. Fans of racing games that may be blind or visually impaired experience gaming differently altogether.

The team behind Forza Motorsport understood that, taking the opportunity to implement ground-breaking accessibility features for the upcoming game. Team 10 Studios brought in audio cues to make racing while blind a possibility.

Developers worked closely with accessibility experts like Brandon Cole, a blind gamer known for his work on The Last of Us. By focusing on what players hear rather than only what they see, Forza Motorsport will offer prospective fans with any level of vision an enjoyable racing experience.

Forza Motorsport offers accessibility options for blind players

After taking visually impaired players into consideration, the team behind Forza Motorsport decided to make use of unique sound features that can help the blind drive more naturally while playing. These accessibility features are known as Blind Driving Assists or BDA.

Senior sound designer Todd Helsley looked toward player feedback for inspiration after acknowledging what the game needed to be appealing to a wider audience. Brandon Cole, accessibility consultant and blind gamer, helped head the Blind Driving Assists concept.

Working together to create an experience in which visually impaired players could navigate the racing tracks without help from automatic braking or turn assists proved to be difficult at first. For a while, Cole found himself continuously crashing into walls.

The team behind Forza Motorsport found the perfect formula in just over a month of the grueling tests. What ended up constituting the prime soundscape for visually impaired players featured a complex variety of audio cues. These needed to not conflict with the audio for tires, engines, and other objects already present in-game.

Rather than using confusing sounds like rushing wind, Forza Motorsport makes use of tonal beeps and boops as cues alongside voiced directions. This leaves less room for confusion and draws on callout systems that aren’t new to the racing genre by any means.

Turn in Forza Motorspot

For instance, players could be approaching a turn when they hear “left three” called out. This would mean that the turn is a left turn with medium sharpness. There are also countdowns in place before each of these turns, helping visually impaired players prepare.

Forza Motorsport’s accessibility features for the blind are not just unique, but they are also customizable. Players will be able to change the pitch and volume for any of the audio cues. Prior to playing, these changes can also be tested in the settings.

Aside from the added audio cues, players with low vision can expect feedback through their controller as they play. By way of simply feeling, changes such as ground to grass surface adjustment will be obvious. Everyone will have access to these features with no additional hardware required.

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About The Author

Anna is a former Dexerto writer. She studied English Literature and then Medieval History at the University of Edinburgh. As a writer, she specializes in narrative design and video game journalism. She spends most of her free time eating pasta, delving deep into Zelda lore, reading fantasy books, tending to in-game farms, world-building, and daydreaming about befriending every animal.