The Outer Worlds Does Colorblind Gaming Right

Illustration for article titled iThe Outer Worlds/i Does Colorblind Gaming Right

It’s cool that many modern games include colorblind options, so that those who struggle to differentiate between various hues can still enjoy the experience to the fullest. It’s even cooler, though, when a game is designed from the ground up with that support in mind.

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Obsidian’s Josh Sawyer shared this info in a Tweet earlier in the week, saying that not one but two of the game’s directors had a form of colorblindness:

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That basically means the game is relying on stuff like icons, text, spoken dialogue and art to tell you things, without relying solely on “red thing is bad”, or “green thing is good”.

More and more games are including colorblind filters or options these days, where certain color indicators and shades are changed (Call of Duty has been particularly good at this), but to see a major game designed with it in mind is great.

If you don’t have colorblindness and wonder what the fuss is about, it’s estimated as many as 1 in 8 men have some form of colorblindness. The rates in women are around 1 in 200.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

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DISCUSSION

Colorblind player here. Some additional context:

• Mainly, colorblindness is an issue of saturation, which means some otherwise distinct shades more closely resemble others (red and green, very common. It can also make saturation-dependent colors like purple harder to see distinctly).

• I appreciate the colorblindness settings but I rarely use them, simply because I don’t know what kind of colorblindness I have. I think it’s protanopia, the most common. But I turned on Madden’s colorblind assistance and the Kansas City Chiefs were nearly chartreuse. This is not a criticism of EA or a deficiency in the developers or something that needs to be accommodated. It is to say that many colorblind players have simply adapted to their surroundings, such that settings to improve the contrast for their vision look way unnatural.

• Developers who have customization options that include colors and color wheels really should consider including hex code inputs, or RGB/HSL numerical inputs. This is because the colorblind don’t really trust their own eyes to say “I am wearing a red cape in DC Universe Online” (which has a Hex Code input btw) so they look up the shade they want and plug that in, no problems. Having the full spectrum of color options available is great, having numerical inputs lets folks who have weaker color vision be sure that their awesome getup/awesome racing livery looks like they want it to look for others in multiplayer.