Our Accessibility Standards: Phobias
Photo by Mark König on Unsplash
Accessibility Spotlight

Our Accessibility Standards: Phobias

Arman Nobari
Arman Nobari

To our team here at Good Trouble, creating an inclusive gaming environment means addressing more than just the physical, cognitive, visual, and auditory challenges our players may face. In this latest addition to our Accessibility Standards series, we turn our focus towards phobia-friendly gaming, ensuring our games are accessible and enjoyable for players with various phobias.

Our commitment is to craft an environment where every player, regardless of their fears, can dive into our worlds with comfort and confidence. Understanding the impact that phobias can have on a player's gaming experience is crucial, and we think games should be more supportive of that need. Phobias, such as arachnophobia (fear of spiders) to claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces), can drastically affect how players engage with games. Sudden encounters with phobia-inducing elements can not only break immersion but also cause significant distress, and totally ruin the vibe of an otherwise fun playthrough.

This is something we genuinely care about providing support for, so in today’s post we’ll dive into specifics of how we’re creating a phobia-friendly next-gen RTS.

We commit long-term to creating safe, phobia-friendly gaming experiences, enabling players to explore our worlds with confidence.

From arachnophobia to hemophobia and beyond, phobias can be immersion-breaking in even our favorite and most familiar games. We commit to offering content warnings, adjustable settings to modify or avoid distressing content, to ensure that players can feel secure and respected while experiencing our stories, worlds, and characters.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Our approach to phobia-friendly gaming includes several key points:

  • Content Warnings: Before encountering potentially distressing content, players will get a clear and concise heads-up about what's ahead. We'll aim to do this in the least disruptive way possible, with plenty of advanced notice, so as to not disrupt the immersion in-the-moment. This way you can either tread forward into that content, or choose to avoid it altogether.
  • Phobia-Aware Design: As we craft the worlds, narratives, and mechanics in our games, we'll work with phobias in mind, so that no experience outright force unavoidable interactions with potentially distressing topics.
  • Adjustable Settings: We're developing a robust settings menu that includes toggles for common phobias. These settings will allow players to modify or remove specific elements from their gaming experience, such as spiders, snakes, blood, and deep water.
  • Phobia-Friendly Testing: We are committed to including players with phobias in our testing process. This will help us ensure that our phobia-friendly features are genuinely effective and respectful of our players' needs. Our journey towards creating a more inclusive gaming world is ongoing, and we believe that addressing phobias is a crucial step in this journey. By offering players control over their exposure to phobia-inducing content, we hope to create a safer and more welcoming environment for everyone.

As we move closer to revealing our new game, we're eager to hear your thoughts on our phobia accessibility features. Do you have suggestions for improvements or additional considerations we haven't yet included? Head on over to the Good Trouble Discord server, where our #accessibility channel hosts conversations like this every day.