Every year there are two or three highly anticipated games released with massive hype and record-setting expectations. Most times these games fall completely flat when it comes to game accessibility, but this year one game set itself apart by including a fair amount of accessibility at launch while still meeting the public's expectations for an amazing game.
AbleGamers is proud to announce the 2011 Accessible Mainstream Game of the Year goes to Star Wars: The Old Republic. With over 1 million subscriptions sold before the paint even dried on the collector’s edition boxes, SWTOR quickly became one of the most popular MMO RPGs on the market today.
This game performed strongly against most of our accessibility tests while still maintaining a fun environment for those who enjoy solo or group play. Perhaps one of the most unintentionally accessibility features turned out to be the addition of companions. These NPC characters which accompany the player through most of the game provide support to those who need it without forcing them to request help from other players. Companions are an integral part of the crafting game as all crafting and some resource gathering is actually done by the companions themselves allowing those who wish to be more social and less lethal to still participate in this cutting into game.
SWTOR also features many accessibility options such as full subtitles, queue-able actions, multiple action bars, area looting, auto looting, and built-in mouse sensitivity. Other built-in features such as automatically turning to face the monster you are killing, mini map colors being colorblind friendly, full subtitles, and the ability to control the entire game from the keyboard or with the mouse, only increase the reasons to herald this game as a success for game accessibility.
The developers do have room for improvement by adding features such as click to move, close captioning, and the inclusion of mods to allow things like UI movement, text size changes, and small changes deemed necessary by the player base. However, with Star Wars enabling the ability to use on-screen keyboards, voice activation software, and mouse sensitivity settings, the game can be forgiven for a few shortcomings while hitting the major targets.
What makes this game so special is that the developers took the time to include so many accessibility options while up against tight deadlines in such a highly anticipated title. The AbleGamers Foundation is proud to present BioWare and LucasArts with the 2011 Accessible Mainstream Game of the Year Award. Congratulations to all the developers who helped shape the accessibility of this wonderful game.