While it has them during gameplay, the new Spyro Reignited Trilogy doesn’t have subtitles during its cutscenes. So anyone who is hearing impaired, or just likes to play with the sound down/off and wants to enjoy the game’s story, is shit out of luck.
This is very much not normal, which is why what might seem like a minor oversight is actually blowing up into kind of a big deal. The game was released last week, when the omission was first noticed, but it wasn’t until GamePitt asked Activision for a statement a few days ago that it became clear something wasn’t quite right.
When Toys For Bob set out to make an awesome game collection, there were certain decisions that needed to be made throughout the process. The team remained committed to keep the integrity and legacy of Spyro that fans remembered intact. The game was built from the ground up using a new engine for the team (Unreal 4), and was localized in languages that had not previously been attempted by the studio. While there’s no industry standard for subtitles, the studio and Activision care about the fans’ experience especially with respect to accessibility for people with different abilities, and will evaluate going forward.
As Ars Technica point out, this isn’t the first time Activision has done this with a re-release; last year’s Crash Trilogy didn’t have subtitles in its cutscenes either.
Activision are right in saying there’s no industry standard (this Twitter thread does an excellent job of explaining why), but that’s not coming across as a particularly valid excuse, nor is the fact “certain decisions needed to be made”, when pretty much every other game from every other major publisher is able to include them.
The company’s statement wraps up by saying they “will evaluate going forward”, which means subtitles might be added in an upcoming patch.
It’s 2018 and video games should be for everyone, so it’s a shame that while some major companies are releasing dedicated accessible controllers, others see subtitles—of all things!—as a way to cut corners.