Dead by Daylight developer Behaviour Interactive has announced it will shortly be introducing colorblind accessibility options to the game, following some controversy over comments made by one of the game’s designers during a livestream last week.
Lead programmer Ethan ‘Amos’ Larson was streaming the game on his personal twitch account and responding to questions from viewers, when he responded to viewer JC’s enquiry about colorblind options in the game.
“Alright JC it’s getting really boring just blabbing about colorblind mode all the time, we’ve heard it a million times, we know, continuing to badger us about it isn’t going to change anything,” says Larson. “If it gets done, it’ll get done when we have time to do it, or if somebody decides it’s something that should be done, we know a lot of players want it, we know it’s not a small number.”
This comment was subsequently clipped and circulated, attracting the notice of among others Steven Spohn, COO of Able Gamers (a charity dedicated to the needs of gamers with disabilities). Spohn responded that “if you’re tired of ‘being badgered about it’ imagine how tired people are of not being able to play your game because it’s inaccessible to them.”
Around two hours later Behaviour Interactive responded to Spohn, before going on to show that a colorblind mode is already in the works.
A brief statement on colorblind accessibility (thread) pic.twitter.com/6a1jfrNfNuJanuary 21, 2021
In the video a BI developer says this is “the work we’re doing right now for the colorblind mode. It’s something that a lot of people wanted for a long time, we hope this is a first step in making our game accessible to a larger group of players and we’re hoping to have these modes release in the next chapter update […] not the mid-chapter update but the big one after that.”
Dead by Daylight’s most recent chapter, The Binding of Kin, was released on December 1st 2020. The game averages four chapters a year, meaning the next chapter update would be expected in early March, though BI is understandably being cagey about exactly when to expect this.
The studio’s official account went on to add: “In recent months, we have been hard at work bringing colorblind modes to Dead by Daylight. While these are not the circumstances we would have liked to announce this, we feel the time is right. We will be addressing colorblindness concerns with the new HUD by the Mid-Chapter release. For further colorblind support, we’re aiming for the next Chapter release (date TBD). These are our first steps towards making DBD more accessible to our players.”
The reaction to the announcement has been uniformly positive, though a surprising number of people seem to think this mode is ‘damage control’ cooked up overnight in response to the annoyance over Larson’s comments. This is hard to credit.
There are further calls to pursue the individual developer, demanding some sort of ‘accountability’, mea culpa, or more explicitly the loss of his job. Larson certainly doesn’t come out of this looking good, but his words are clipped from a longer stream, now deleted, and we have no idea of context such as how often he’d already addressed the issue. To play devil’s advocate, given that this feature was clearly already in the works and due to be completed in the near future, his frustration may have had something to do with being unable to give a straightforward answer (the announcement of a colorblind mode would have been part of a PR schedule, and developers on a game like DBD have to stick to such plans).
Either way the outcome is positive, with DBD adding a long-overdue accessibility feature that will allow a wider range of players to enjoy hunting down and brutally murdering one another.
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