Riders Republic launches on October 28 on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Amazon Luna, and Stadia. But before you drop into the massive multiplayer outdoor sports playground, check out the accessibility options the team at Ubisoft Annecy is adding to the game. To learn bit more about the features in store, as well as the development team’s accessibility philosophy, we spoke with Creative Director Igor Manceau. You can find a detailed list of features that impact accessibility following the interview.
How does the team go about designing accessibility gameplay features (like trick assist, backtracking, etc.) while still maintaining the fun and challenge of the game?
Igor Manceau: Our vision from the beginning was to make our game more welcoming and accessible to as many players as possible. We invested a lot of time and energy in supporting this vision in most of our core gameplay pillars.
To illustrate this approach, here are a few examples: First, we wanted to provide a personalized experience when it comes to controls, specifically the trick system. There is no proven recipe or industry standard for trick controls in sports games, like you can see in the shooter genre for example. So right from the get-go, we offer various presets for controls from which players can choose. Of course, you also have the possibility to customize your inputs.
Secondly, as a player, you can choose your level of assist in tricks. Options range from fully auto to full manual mode, where you can control the board direction, velocity, and have pure analog control on all your rotation. In full auto, the game will calculate the safest tricks amplitude based on your initial input and will basically land it for you.
We also wanted to change the overall approach when it comes to tricks. In Riders Republic, you can land a very impressive, unique trick quite easily. At the same time, we’ve added depth to other layers. In manual mode, you will be judged on your ability to land smoothly. But also, in all modes, the game will reward your creativity and technique, so you can focus on chaining tricks and new moves rather than sending the same trick at each opportunity.
We also have what we call BackTrack system. This allows you to rewind and adjust if you miss something, which is a great tool to ensure you complete a race or a trick event. We wanted to provide flexibility so you can get back on the track and continue the race.
Finally, we made a big design choice to make the game much more welcoming: coming in last place still allows you to progress in the game. All you need to do is cross the finish line.
These elements are really major foundations of our design approach.
Do you see these features having an impact on players who don’t identify as disabled?
IM: Absolutely. Our design philosophy is meant to benefit all our players. We always listen to feedback from our community members and believe players of all styles will be able to enjoy the game, whether that's from intense competition or just getting in the flow, riding with their friends, and enjoying the scenery.
How do changes to gameplay and difficulty affect competition in the game?
IM: The way I like to think of competition in Riders Republic is through the example of our mass races. In real life, I love big events such as marathons, popular 10k races in cities, or village events where everybody’s invited to compete in a friendly spirit. The whole game is about this. This is, to me, the best sports spirit. Some athletes train their whole lives to be the best, while others are here to have fun, dressed in costumes, running for a cause, or just to support a friend. Everyone has fun and enjoys their race in their own way.
If you sum it up, this is what Riders Republic is all about. You will have intense performances, players beating the Red Bull Rampage with thrilling lines, some even using silly or out-of-place bikes to show how good they are. You’ll also have players dressed in a giraffe costume hitting all the rocks on the way, laughing at their crashes, and still crossing the finish line.
- Ability to disable the vibration on gamepad. (Motor, Cognitive)
Remap keys and controls
Gamepad and Mouse and Keyboard gameplay inputs can be remapped (console and PC), including all the different sports separately. Players can:
Invert Left and Right mouse button on PC
Invert Y and X axis possibility split between ground and air sports on consoles
There are three controls presets that can be modified by players using control rebinding. (Motor, Cognitive)
Option to change the sensitivity of the camera, map, and mouse. (Motion Sickness)
The mouse camera acceleration can be modified on PC. (Motor, Cognitive)
Stick dead zone
- An option exists to modify the dead zone of both sticks; smaller dead zone makes the stick more sensitive to input. (Motor, Cognitive)
- Landing tricks and aiming on grind and rails can be set to automatic. (Motor, Cognitive)
- Freeze the game with one button. Players can rewind their position to erase any mistake. (Motor, Cognitive)
Difficulty and event guidance
Event difficulty sets the score/time to beat but doesn’t change the layout or events.
There is a no-fail condition on events, players must cross the finish line, but still receive a reward, even if they finish last.
Missing a checkpoint or reaching an out-of-bounds limit in an event teleports players back to the track (Motor, Cognitive, Vision)
In game unit
- Set the distance in metric or imperial form (Cognitive)
- Offline mode where players have access to all sports and can roam the world as they want. (Motor, Cognitive)
HUD and UI
Menu Narration (Visual, Cognitive)
- Menu narration activates by default and will read the menu texts and options setting out loud (only in English). (Vision)
Game HUD (Visual)
- Option to fully disable the game HUD. (Vision, Cognitive)
Mouse visibility in ride
- Players can make the mouse visible in ride, making it possible to use third party software like Alt Controller to input action based on mouse position on screen. (Motor, Cognitive)
Voice chat settings
- Push to talk or voice activation. This can be set to off, only group, Group and team. (Hearing, Motor, Cognitive)
- Ability to configure levels for game, music, dialog, sfx, microphone. (Hearing, Vision, Cognitive)
Speech to Text
- Voice chat converted to text and can be read by menu narration (only in English). (Hearing, Vision, Cognitive)
- Player can enable subtitles, as well as change the size and background of subtitles with predefined values. (Hearing, Vision, Cognitive)
- Three colorblind filters: Protanopia/Deuteranopia/Tritanopia (Vision)
- Change the level of contrast of the game. (Vision)
Field of View
- Ability to change the Field of View (adjust horizontal FOV) and Depth of Field (turn on or off). Turn the simulation of camera’s range of focus on or off. Objects outside the range of focus are blurred. (Vision, Motor, Cognitive, Motion Sickness, Headaches)
- Ability to turn off motion blur. (Vision, Cognitive, Motion Sickness, Headaches)