— “January 13, 2022”
God of War’s PC port arrives on Friday, and it’s a good one: in our review, staff writer Morgan Park praised its DLSS support enabling framerates well above 60 fps. For God of War’s developers, the PC port was an opportunity to add ultrawide support and dial up a few settings beyond what they could pull off on the PlayStation 4, but it was also a chance to rethink how they approach accessibility while building games.
“This has really laid some groundwork in the backend,” said UX and accessibility lead Mila Pavlin. “A lot of accessibility features require that you change your pipeline of how you’re creating content. [The PC port] allowed us to go back in and relook at how we were actually constructing some of the underlying code.”
For the PC version of God of War the developers wanted to address sprinting, which was bound to clicking in the thumbstick on a controller (aka the L3 button). “A lot of players find that button specifically to be a little difficult to utilize,” Pavlin said. For players with muscle fatigue, the heavy click required to depress the thumbsticks can be an obstacle, so Santa Monica Studio built an auto-sprint feature into the new PC version. You can set a threshold that determines how long you have to hold down a direction before Kratos will automatically start sprinting.
Pavlin mentioned that the PC’s customizability and support for all kinds of controllers naturally open the door to more accessibility options, but those benefits can also carry over indirectly to Santa Monica’s next game on PS5: God of War Ragnarok. Revisiting the 2018 code gave the developers an opportunity to build a “more accessible framework” for their next game.
“Working on things like keyboard remapping allows us to actually look at how that pipeline functions overall, and carry that forward through all of our SMS products,” Pavlin said. “So that will help us to build a better foundation to work off of in future products.”
Senior technical producer Matt DeWald added that “PC is just a small sliver of what we want to do for accessibility. It’s the stuff that we could easily do without going back and re-authoring content. But to Mila’s point, accessibility is really important to us. And we want to try to make sure we can support as much as we can. So there are some big plans.”
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