God of War lands on the PC today, and the port packs some nifty steps forward on the accessibility front – work which will be carried through to improve the incoming sequel, God of War: Ragnarok, on PlayStation.
As spotted by our sister site PC Gamer – who, by the way, loved the PC version of the game – the God of War port doesn’t just deliver seriously smooth frame rates (with DLSS being a big help) and other goodies, but meaningful improvements for accessibility in the nuts and bolts of the game.
Mila Pavlin, UX and accessibility lead at Santa Monica Studio, explained to PC Gamer: “This has really laid some groundwork in the backend. 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.”
The main change here for the port was in how sprinting works. Those who have tackled God of War on the PlayStation will doubtless recall that to sprint, you need to click in the left thumbstick, which can feel rather awkward. Pavlin observed: “A lot of players find that button specifically to be a little difficult to utilize.”
So, for the PC version, the devs came up with a solution in the form of an auto-sprint feature. This simply kicks in after you hold down a direction key for a certain length of time, with that time period definable by the user – a neat solution.
Analysis: Building a better foundation for future games
As ever, any improvements to accessibility are well worth considering, and this is a clever move to reduce any potential strain on the thumb in a prolonged God of War session (even on PC, where some folks prefer the controller to switching to the mouse and keyboard). It’s one thing to click in the left stick to fire off a one-time ability, for example, but another to have to push the stick forward while clicking in – that’s an entirely more awkward feeling experience.
Moreover, it’s great to hear that this exploration of accessibility on the PC version has laid groundwork for God of War: Ragnarok on PS5 getting bolstered in this respect. Pavlin noted: “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 [Santa Monica Studio] products. So that will help us to build a better foundation to work off of in future products.”
Matt DeWald, senior technical producer, said “PC is just a small sliver of what we want to do for accessibility” and that “accessibility is really important to us” before adding: “We want to try to make sure we can support as much as we can. So there are some big plans.”
Note that we’ve also heard on the grapevine that God of War: Ragnarok could get a PC port eventually, as well, which would make sense given that the first game has been converted across (although admittedly, it took three years, so don’t go thinking Ragnarok could be ported any time soon – if it’s coming at all).
Make sure you check out what we thought about playing God of War PC at 8K.