Street Fighter 6 got help from fully blind players to enhance accessibility 

ePARA announced their collaboration with Capcom in order to improve the sound accessibility of the fighting game Street Fighter 6.  

ePARA is a barrier-free e-sports business in Japan which strives to create an environment where any player can participate regardless of their age, gender, time, place or disability. They also provide employment support for people with disabilities. Previously ePARA used the title Street Fighter V Champion Edition to hold the e-sports event Shingan CUP, in which players compete without using any visual information, using only sound to judge what is happening and play. 

In Street Fighter 6, Capcom has introduced a variety of new sound accessibility features that will allow players to compete without the use of visual information. These features were already implemented during the closed beta test conducted last year and attracted some attention at the time (Related article). They are also available in the demo version currently being distributed on each platform. The sound accessibility settings available are as follows. 

  • Distance To Opponent Sound 
  • Cross-up Attack Hit Symbol Sound 
  • High/Mid/Low Attack Hit Symbol Sound 
  • Vitality/SA Gauge Amount Notification Sound 
  • Drive Gauge Status Notification Sound 
  • Super Art Gauge Usage Indicator Effect 
  • Stage/Character Select Narration Timing 

Sound indicators can be turned on/off, and the Stage/Character Select Narration Timing can be set to “Upon Selecting With Cursor” or “Upon Button Press.” For the remaining Vitality/SA Gauge Amount Notification Sound, pressing the button assigned as the assisting sound will trigger the notification. 

The Distance To Opponent Sounds are constantly sounded during gameplay and they continuously change in pitch and interval as the distance increases or decreases. The further away the player is, the lower the sound and the longer the interval, and the closer the player is, the higher the sound and the shorter the interval. It is also possible to determine which side of the opponent your character is standing on. Actual gameplay can be seen above. 

For Street Fighter 6, ePARA was commissioned to report and advise regarding the sound accessibility of the game under the supervision of a disabled party. This involved having three blind players actually play the game and analyze the sound accessibility. In their announcement, Capcom commented, ” The sound accessibility features of SF6 were excellent with the help of ePARA. It is the result of hard work and challenge by everyone at ePARA and the SF6 Sound Team.” 

Incidentally, a similar initiative was recently announced by Microsoft. Forza Motorsport, the upcoming racing game scheduled for release this year, will have a “Blind Driving Assists” setting with sound support for players of all levels of visual impairment. The system will provide a variety of information such as the vehicle’s position and direction on the course, the approach to corners, and the timing of shift changes. These features are also being developed with the involvement and effort of the visually impaired and their community. 

Street Fighter 6 is scheduled for release on June 2 for PC (Steam)/PS4/PS5/Xbox Series X|S. 

Written by. Amber V based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2023-05-01 19:36 JST)