Great news today from Behavior Interactive as they reveal that a colorblind mode has been in the works for quite some time in Dead by Daylight, though they are probably kicking themselves for how the announcement was handled. The news came after Steven Spohn, COO at Able Gamers and champion of player accessibility in gaming, tweeted in response to negative commentary made by a Dead by Daylight developer Almo during a gameplay stream, forcing the developer’s hand to reveal plans for new features.
In the stream, a viewer asked about the possibility of adding accessibility features to Dead by Daylight, something that has been requested by the player base for years but has never really seen a positive response by the developer. Almo responded in an off-the-cuff manner, stating that he was “getting bored” about hearing the requests over and over. Unfortunately, when it comes to accessibility, these were some terribly toxic words that caught the attention of Spohn.
Accessibility is by far one of the most important parts of video game development today. Efforts like those put forward by organizations like Numinous Games, or in games like Sea of Thieves with developers like James Thomas championing features implemented to ensure that as many people can enjoy a game as possible, are exactly what the video game industry should strive to achieve.
With Spohn’s tweet and subsequent thread, Behavior Interactive began to catch flak from all over the internet. Until now, their dismissal or unwillingness to engage with the community constructively about accessibility had largely been tolerated, but Almo’s comments hit a nerve. “Getting bored” hearing about accessibility is one of the most dismissive things to say, especially to a player base that wants nothing more than to enjoy a game as fun as Dead by Daylight.
As a result of the overwhelmingly negative reaction, Behavior Interactive made the surprise move to announce that colorblind mode has in fact been in the works for some time now, though there is still no firm release date available.
The good news here is obvious, as Dead by Daylight will finally get some much-needed improvements towards accessibility. The bad news, of course, is that the optics through which the news came to light further pushes a narrative that Behavior Interactive is doing the bare minimum for its players who require accessibility options, and worse, that developers like Almo do not care.
This is unfortunate, especially because Almo probably meant no disrespect with his commentary, and as someone who likely knew about the colorblind mode development, he may simply have been venting frustration, not at people with accessibility issues, but at not being able to reveal that these features were being made.
Putting aside the poor choice of words and public relations issues that Behavior Interactive will need to deal with, the news is truly great to hear. The more developers work to make their games accessible, the more people they can be enjoyed by the greatest number of players. And when it comes to Dead by Daylight, we always need more people joining us in the fog!
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