Monday, March 27, 2023
HomeGameAnno 1800 (Console) Accessibility Highlight –

Anno 1800 (Console) Accessibility Highlight –

Disclosure: That is an article written and launched by Ubisoft, and despatched to GameCritics through Ubisoft PR. Whereas we don’t normally run PR releases, given its give attention to accessibility and our lifelong dedication to similar, we’re comfortable to share this info. The article may be seen in its authentic format right here.

Anno 1800 is coming to Xbox Sequence X|S and PlayStation 5 on March 16, enabling console gamers to construct bustling cities, set up advanced commerce routes, develop their empire, and negotiate with opponents diplomatically, commercially, or militarily. Anno 1800 Console Version contains enhanced graphics and redesigned UI and controls to raised swimsuit console and controller play. Whereas engaged on the redesign, the Anno design staff was in a position to implement many new accessibility options, a few of that are solely obligatory on the Console Version and a few of which will probably be included within the PC model as nicely.

[UN][ANNO] Console Edition Accessibility Spotlight - IMG 1

To be taught extra concerning the accessible design issues wanted when bringing a PC sport to consoles, we spoke to Nicolas Magnier, senior sport designer at Ubisoft Mainz.

Anno 1800 launched on PC practically 4 years in the past. Ubisoft’s accessibility groups and efforts have grown rather a lot since then; the place do you go, accessibility-wise, when you have already got an entire sport to start out with?

Nicolas Magnier: For the reason that launch of Anno 1800 in 2019, the event staff stored engaged on the sport, not simply on extra content material, but in addition by bettering the sport and including plenty of quality-of-life options. For instance, we added the power to play the sport at half-speed, which is nice if you wish to take issues a bit extra slowly. So, once we began to work on the console model, we instantly benefited from all these enhancements.

For the console model, we additionally needed to rethink plenty of the controls and UI, which was an amazing alternative to incorporate accessibility in our redesign. For instance, since we needed to assist controllers, we robotically included all of the anticipated accessibility choices for the participant, like altering the deadzones, axis inversion, vibration depth, and so forth.

Are there commonplace accessibility practices that Ubisoft abides by in 2023 that weren’t in place but in 2019?

NM: As of 2021, all new Ubisoft video games are required to incorporate accessibility targets of their manufacturing plans, to make sure the staff has the experience, instruments, tech, and assets to ship on their ambitions. Find out how to obtain that is left to the event groups, as effort and complexity fluctuate enormously from sport to sport. Every title ought to try to be as accessible as potential inside its style and platform(s) it runs on.

[UN][ANNO] Console Edition Accessibility Spotlight - IMG 2

What kind of new issues, challenges, and alternatives does placing the sport on console have from an accessibility standpoint?

NM: Bringing a sport like Anno 1800 to console is such a difficult process, as a result of the sequence was so targeted on the PC expertise. The sport was made to be performed at a desk with mouse and keyboard, and now the sport needed to be tailored to be performed on a sofa, a number of meters from the TV, with a controller. Such a change is immediately associated to accessibility subjects like sport controls or readability of the UI, so it was each a problem and a chance to design with accessibility in thoughts.

One among our largest challenges was adapting the UI to be readable from sofa distance. We’ve plenty of info to point out to the participant, so rising the textual content and icon measurement was fairly a battle. The staff needed to rework all of the screens within the sport, generally in vital methods. After all, this isn’t simply concerning the measurement of components; the staff additionally labored rather a lot to make every aspect clearer by tweaking the distinction or the structure.

One other problem we frequently had throughout manufacturing was discovering how you can set off some actions – how you can give instructions to ships, open screens, and so forth. You are able to do a lot within the sport that we had the widespread problem of working out of buttons on the controller. We additionally had some actions which are valued in another way relying on the participant; some folks use the map rather a lot, whereas others favor to leap from island to island. There are additionally gamers who could have extra difficulties utilizing sure buttons, just like the analog triggers or urgent the analog sticks. For this reason we let gamers configure the mapping of the principle actions within the sport and even swap buttons and sticks.

Very early on, we additionally realized that navigating lists can be sluggish and tiring, so we ended up utilizing plenty of radial menus as a substitute which improved the menu navigation rather a lot. Nevertheless, discussing with the accessibility staff, we realized that it might be tough to make use of for some gamers. They’d some nice concepts, like conserving the choice when the stick is again to the impartial place, and having an choice to restrict the variety of entries in a radial menu. For that final one, the UI staff already had made some radial menus dynamic to prototype what number of entries can be snug, so we merely needed to expose this parameter within the choices. We’d not have made that choice accessible if we hadn’t talked to the accessibility staff, so it was good to go over these subjects with them.

We frequently discuss designing accessibility into video games from the bottom up. Clearly, Anno 1800 already existed, however have been there sure foundational points to the sport that wanted to satisfy sure accessibility standards?

NM: One essential characteristic we labored on early with accessibility in thoughts is the cursor. Not like with a mouse the place you may be very exact, we needed to discover a solution to work together together with your world with a big margin of error, so we made the cursor fairly broad to extend its visibility, and to let you choose a component even if you’re not fairly on it.

We additionally iterated on this all through manufacturing, particularly how the participant controls the cursor’s velocity. Ultimately, the participant has plenty of controls not simply throughout gameplay, but in addition within the choices. We actually needed the cursor to really feel good for as many gamers as potential. That was essential.

Are there any accessibility options being carried out to the console model that may even be included within the PC model?

NM: Quite a lot of the accessibility work we did on the sport was primarily targeted on the gamepad controls and the brand new UI that was created for console, so most of it can’t be utilized to the PC model, sadly. Nevertheless, there have been nonetheless some attention-grabbing modifications we made on consoles that made sense on PC. For instance, within the minimap on the console model, every island is coloured primarily based on its proprietor. It’s useful to enhance the readability of the minimap from sofa distance. We realized this alteration can be additionally helpful for some PC gamers, so we added this as an choice for them. We additionally modified how some menus are organized to scale back the variety of entries in classes, and it additionally benefited the PC model, since menu classes weren’t as crowded and overwhelming.

A sport like Anno depends closely on UI components. Bringing the sport to console necessitates an entire rework of these UI components. How does that have an effect on accessibility? Are you allowed so as to add extra options and choices because the whole factor wants to vary anyway?

NM: Sure, that was a unbelievable alternative to rethink some screens and be capable to experiment. For instance, now we have a menu the place the participant can handle all their commerce routes, and it may be fairly concerned. To arrange a commerce route, you’ll want to outline which island needs to be served, assign one or a number of ships, outline what items to load and unload at every cease, and so forth.

On console, we broke down the setup as a step-by-step course of, with some extra checks and steering. Our aim was to make this course of simpler to know, and our playtest confirmed that we improved rather a lot on making the entire menu much less cognitively taxing.

[UN][ANNO] Console Edition Accessibility Spotlight - IMG 3



  • Motion Remapping and Enter Swap: Participant can map actions to particular buttons throughout gameplay. We additionally enabled digital button and stick swap.
  • Axis inversion: Horizontal and vertical axis may be inverted for all potential contexts (Menu Navigation, Cursor, Photograph Mode, and so forth.)
  • Digital camera Velocity: Many choices to configure the velocity of the digital camera in numerous context which let the participant steadiness precision and velocity.
  • Deadzones: Participant can change the internal and outer deadzone for every stick, which is sweet to tweak the stick sensitivity and to adapt to the damage of the controller.
  • Drag Controls: Gamers can change how the drag system works when constructing components like streets. Both with two faucets (one to outline the beginning place and the second the tip) or by holding a button.
  • Maintain/Toggle actions: Gamers can change particular person actions that require holding a button to be accomplished with two faucets as a substitute (first faucet to start out the motion, second one to finish)
  • Radial Menu: Gamers can change the utmost variety of entries in a radial menu. We even have an choice in order that the participant doesn’t should hold pushing the stick to pick out an entry.
  • Set off sensitivity: Gamers can set when an analog set off is taken into account pressed.
  • Vibration Depth: There’s a slider to tweak the power of the haptic suggestions. Participant can increase it, scale back it, or flip it off fully.
  • Huge cursor choice space: Lowered the precision required to pick out objects.


  • Massive UI: UI reworked to enhance legibility.
  • Minimap area colours: Areas coloured primarily based on proprietor for improved readability.
  • Textual content: Participant can disable all italic textual content formatting and alter all textual content to be sans-serif to enhance readability.
  • Subtitles: Along with with the ability to swap subtitles on or off, the participant also can improve the font measurement and alter the opacity of the background to make them simpler to learn.


  • Sound: Gamers can alter the general sound stage, or make particular person changes to the menu, music, voice, and sound results.


  • Management Scheme within the pause menu: At any level within the sport, the participant can pause and verify the principle management scheme.
  • Customized sport: When creating a brand new sport, the participant can absolutely customise the sport to fine-tune the expertise and issue to their liking (steering stage, in the event that they wish to play towards rivals, quest frequency, severity of fires, and so forth.).
  • Sport Velocity: Gamers can change the velocity of the sport at any level within the sport, and even play at half the usual velocity.
  • Notifications: Gamers can disable classes of notifications to handle the extent of interruption and never really feel overwhelmed.
  • Lowered cognitive load of menus: Menus are damaged down into clearer steps with extra steering.

Anno 1800 Console Version is out March 16, for extra details about accessibility in Ubisoft video games, make sure you go to our Accessibility hub.

Brad Gallaway
Newest posts by Brad Gallaway (see all)



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments