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Firewatch
23 Accessibility Features

We've documented 23 accessibility features for Firewatch, including Fully Voiced (Or No Speech), Guaranteed Progress, Low Pressure, No Quick Reactions and Speaker Indicator. Its accessibility is strongest in Controls and Getting Started but it also has features in Reading, Navigation, Visual and Audio to reduce unintended barriers.

This report is created with input from accessibility experts and the player community to help people find games that have the accessibility features they require. Once you have found potential games on the database, there are excellent specialist accessibility sites that offer in-depth reviews to guide your purchasing decisions.

Firewatch is an explorative adventure where you play a fire lookout in America’s Shoshone National Forest. It has a relational and conspiracy undertone similar to the podcast/radio drama and Netflix show Homecoming. As you talk on the radio to your controller, you learn more about your character. A relationship evolves between the two of them through just these interactions. You slowly uncover a story about loneliness, mental health and catharsis in a grand, sun-drenched landscape.

External examiner, Ronald Brady, first checked Firewatch accessibility 3 years ago. It was re-examined by Ben Kendall and updated 15 months ago.

NotesAccessibility Notes

The game does provide an option to invert the Y-axis but not the X-axis. Game menu access can only be rebound for keyboard users.

The text is generally good contrast but there are some elements that lose this, particularly in the open cut scenes. There is text on the object and notices in the game that aren't very large. The subtitles are quite clear, but aren't very large. In-game options are also on the small side of things. In game action prompts are even smaller text.

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 09/02/2016, updated in 2018

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Players: 1

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Accessibility: 23 features

Components: 3D First-Person, Cartoon and Open World

Developer: Camposanto (@Camposanto)

Costs: Purchase cost

 

ControlsControls

We've documented 8 accessibility features for Controls in Firewatch which deal with how you control the game, different options for alternative inputs and whether you can remap these settings to suit your needs.

Gamepad

Can play with the following:

Multiple Buttons & Two Sticks: Can play with multiple buttons and two sticks.

Mouse And Keyboard

Can play with the following:

Mouse and Keys: Can play with mouse and multiple keys.

Mouse and Controller: Can play with mouse and controller simultaneously.

Remap Controls

Can customise the controls for the game as follows:

Swap Sticks: Can swap the sticks over so that you can use the opposite sticks to control the game.

Remap Mouse and Keyboard: Can remap mouse and keyboard key bindings, on systems that support these controls.

Remap One Action to Multiple Buttons: Can remap multiple buttons to perform the same action to reduce the need to memorise buttons and make the action easier to access.

Remap Game Menu Access: Can remap buttons to pause, access and navigate the game menu. This enables you to specify which buttons pop-up the game menu.Whether you can remap menu navigation buttons isn't considered here.

Sensitivity

You can adjust

Adjust Mouse/Stick/Touch Sensitivity: Adjust how sensitive touch/mouse/stick controls are.

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Controls

If you want to play Firewatch, but it doesn't offer the Controls accessibility features you require, these similar games extend the Controls accessibility:

DifficultyDifficulty

We haven’t documented any accessibility features for Difficulty in Firewatch which deal with how you can adjust the challenge of play, and whether this is locked once chosen or can be adjusted as you play. The following games are similar to Firewatch, and offer accessibility features for Difficulty:

Getting StartedGetting Started

We've documented 5 accessibility features for Getting Started in Firewatch which deal with what support is offered to get started with the game. This includes customising the experience when you first open the game via any onboarding processes it provides as well as tutorials and other assistance when you first start playing.

Assistance Getting Starting

These features aid your play of the game in terms of cognitive load on learning controls, dealing with pressure and coping with the environment and challenges.

Tutorials: There are helpful tutorials and instructions on how to play. Information is provided in a timely manner, with appropriate level of detail.

Reaction-Time Not Critical: Individual game actions don’t need quick reactions, or there are settings to lower the requirement for quick reactions. This means you don't need to quickly press a button in response to an on-screen prompt, target a fast-moving target or skillfully complete a scenario against the clock.

Low Pressure: Game tasks aren't time-limited or there's a low-pressure mode. This avoids the pressure of being put on the clock for overarching missions, or failing tasks because you didn't reach a destination in time.

Assistance For Progressing

These features aid your progress through the game offering different ways of maintaining your progression.

Guaranteed Progress With God Mode: There is no fail state for any game level, where you lose progress or have to start again. Or there are options to make failing impossible: infinite health or lives, unlimited time. Sometimes called God Mode or Unfailable.

Save Progress Anytime: The game automatically saves progress or you can save any time. This doesn’t mean you never lose progress, but it does mean you can stop whenever you want (without having to get to a save point) without losing progress.

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Getting Started

If you want to play Firewatch, but it doesn't offer the Getting Started accessibility features you require, these similar games extend the Getting Started accessibility:

ReadingReading

We've documented 4 accessibility features for Reading in Firewatch which deal with how much reading or listening comprehension is required, how well the game provides visual and audible access to the text and whether subtitles and captions are a good fit for purpose.

Reading Level

How much reading is required to play the game's main path or story and how complex the language is. The presence of voiced characters doesn't reduce this requirement, as it's recorded as a separate datapoint.

Moderate Reading: Moderate reading required. The quantity and complexity of reading are at a level that a high school student (14-year-old) would appreciate.

Subtitles

All Speech Subtitled (Or No Speech In Game): All spoken content has subtitles, or there is no speech in the game. This means there is no requirement to hear spoken dialogue or narrative to play the game.

Captions

Speaker Indicator: Textual captions indicate who is speaking (or there is only ever one person speaking). This can also be indicated visually in the game with character icons or placing text in speech bubbles next to the person speaking.

Voice Acted

All Dialogue is Voice Acted (Or No Speech In Game): All of the game dialogue and narrative can be voiced, or there is no speech in the game. This means there is no requirement to read the dialogue and narrative text to play the game.

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Reading

If you want to play Firewatch, but it doesn't offer the Reading accessibility features you require, these similar games extend the Reading accessibility:

NavigationNavigation

We've documented 3 accessibility features for Navigation in Firewatch which deal with how the game provides guidance and assistance to navigate its worlds. These are only for games that have traversal and exploration in 2D and 3D spaces.

Clarity

Clear Mission Objectives: The game provides clear, structured missions with directional guidance and advice on which can be attempted next. This also indicates (ideally on maps where they are provided) which missions can't be attempted because you do not have the appropriate items yet.

Head-Up Display

Game Map: View a map of the game world during play, with the landscape, points of interest and missions highlighted throughout the entire game. This enables the orientation of the player and the world, confirming a direction of movement and the location of destinations or points of exploration.

Menu Navigation

Remap Game Menu Access: Can remap buttons to pause, access and navigate the game menu. This enables you to specify which buttons pop-up the game menu.Whether you can remap menu navigation buttons isn't considered here.

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Navigation

If you want to play Firewatch, but it doesn't offer the Navigation accessibility features you require, these similar games extend the Navigation accessibility:

VisualVisual

We've documented 3 accessibility features for Visual in Firewatch which deal with how you can adjust the visuals to suit your needs, and offer additional information if you can't hear the game.

Contrast

Medium Contrast: Game uses generally well contrasting and bright visuals, or has a slider to make this the case.

Visual Distractions

No Screen Shake: No screen shake effect or it is included but it can be disabled. This includes the absence of screen shake for dramatic effect as well as to indicate hits on a target.

Motion Sickness Friendly

Motion Sickness Friendly: Doesn't have 3D movement elements that may trigger motion sickness, like motion blur, depth of field and field-of-vision. Or includes the ability to disable motion blur, depth of field and field-of-vision effects.

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Visual

If you want to play Firewatch, but it doesn't offer the Visual accessibility features you require, these similar games extend the Visual accessibility:

AudioAudio

We've documented 1 accessibility feature for Audio in Firewatch which deals with how you can adjust the audio of the game and whether audio cues compensate for aspects of the game that are hard to see.

Adjustable Audio

Balance Audio Levels: Set music and game sound effects separately. This enables you to select your preference as well as ensure critical game sounds aren't obscured by other audio.

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Audio

If you want to play Firewatch, but it doesn't offer the Audio accessibility features you require, these similar games extend the Audio accessibility:

System Accessibility Settings

In addition to the accessibility features provided in the game, you can also use system-wide accessibility settings:

Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch has some built-in features, including a lockable zoom, that can be used on all games.
 
PC
Windows has extensive accessibility features. Some, like colour correction, work with games. Lots of accessibility software can be used with PC games, from voice recognition to input device emulators.
 
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 4 has a range of accessibility settings. Some are system only, some work in games (invert colours and button mapping).
 
Xbox One
Xbox One has a system features, the excellent co-pilot share controls mode and adaptive controller support for all games.
 
Read more about system accessibility settings.

VSC LogoAccessibility Report supported by VSC Rating Board, PlayabilityInitiative and accessibility contributors @ronald_brady, Andy Robertson, Jonah Monaghan and Ben Kendall


Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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