"This has helped me understand the importance of inclusion and has greatly [influenced] my accessibility work.”
- Karen Stevens shares how her own experiences gave her perspective
FIFA 18 recently received an update that added in a host of new features geared at making the game more accessible. The new options gave players the ability to, among other things, enlarge clickable targets, remap controller sticks, bumpers, and triggers, or toggle an on-screen pause button that can be used with only a mouse on PC.
Following that update, Waypoint spoke with some of the key players behind EA Sports’ growing focus on accessibility about how those changes have been reflected in games and the company since.
The story is one example of how developers can (and should, when feasible) implement new features and options to help make their games playable by as wide of an audience as possible.
Karen Stevens, once a rendering engineer at EA, leads the charge as the company’s first accessibility lead. Her efforts started during an internal game jam and yielded the addition of accessibility features like resizable icons for Madden NFL 17. She now heads the company’s accessibility drive and EA’s Accessibility Portal where she solicits feedback on features from players.
“I once asked a friend if he was looking forward to the next Madden NFL, as he is a huge Raiders fan,” Stevens told Waypoint. “He told me he can’t play Madden due to vision problems; he couldn’t see anything that moved quickly and was small -- like the pass icons. I decided that if I ever had the chance, I would try to improve the game so a wider audience could play Madden.”
Waypoint’s full story has more information on Stevens’ efforts, as well as a look at how accessibility options in EA Sports games have evolved in just recent years.