Xbox Accessibility Guideline 108: Game Difficulty Options
The intent is to ensure players can enjoy and complete a game experience regardless of their skill level and/or various physical, cognitive, or sensory capabilities. The ability to set a game to a very low level of difficulty may be the difference between a younger / casual gamer or gamer with disability being able to play, enjoy, and complete a title.
Difficulty is often thought of as “Easy / Normal / Hard” but these are broad buckets affecting entire swathes of variables. It’s important to recognize that different aspects of games provide different types of challenges and that gamers may want or need to configure these individually. To that end, games should choose to have multiple difficulty settings when possible.
Example: There might be discrete difficulty settings for in-game puzzles as well as combat in the same title allowing someone with fine motor control to turn down the difficulty when fighting enemies while keeping the puzzle difficulty high. Similarly, a user with limited cognitive skills might choose to turn down the puzzle difficulty setting while keeping the combat difficulty high.
Game includes multiple levels of difficulty presets (ideally 4+).
The game provides at least 1 additional difficulty setting (if not the primary) where progress is regularly saved (e.g. with checkpoints) and the player can continue after failure without significant loss of progress.
Game provides the ability for users to adjust the difficulty of different mechanics discretely. This can either be though explicit difficulty settings (e.g. Puzzle Difficulty, Combat Difficulty) and/or through a set of assists (e.g. Brake Assist, Auto-Aim).
Provide an ultra-low difficulty mode for the game that enables all users to progress through the narrative.
- Consider providing a mode that allows the user to complete the entire game using a single button or stick for users with especially severe disabilities or those who simply want to experience the game's narrative.
Ensure language used to describe difficulty presets is descriptive and does not denigrate the player (e.g. "Wimp Mode").
|Users without vision||Applies|
|Users without hearing||Applies|
|Users with little or no color perception||Applies|
|Users with low vision and limited / no hearing||Applies|
|Users without speech||Applies|
|Users with limited cognitive skills||Applies|
|Users with limited reach and strength||Applies|
|Users with limited manual dexterity||Applies|
|Users with prosthetic devices||Applies|
|Users with limited ability to use time-dependent controls||Applies|
|Other users: Casual gamers, younger gamers||Applies|