Tekken 8’s colorblind accessibility feature is backfiring

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Fighter video game Tekken 8, set to release later this month from game publisher Bandai Namco, plans to offer several color vision options to increase accessibility. One filter that uses horizontal and vertical black and white lines for the two characters on screen has generated buzz for its novel approach, but it’s also getting backlash.

The lines and their movement are creating a strobing effect. One user complained of getting “instant vertigo” from watching just a few seconds of a clip. Another got a “terrible migraine.” Electronic Arts’ game accessibility lead, Morgan Baker, asked her followers on X to stop tagging her in posts about the filter, saying “it’s already induced an aura migraine for me, and I can’t afford to get another one right now, or worse.”

And that’s not where the health concerns stop for the title with the longest-running storyline in video game history. “Due to it having parallel lines moving unpredictably, covering much of the screen, I’d expect it’s doing worse as well,” warned James Berg, senior technical program manager for accessibility at Xbox and a former accessibility veteran at EA.

Tekken 8’s reaction to criticism about its colorblind filter

“A few people, albeit very few, have either misunderstood the accessibility options we are trying, or have only seen the video without actually trying them out in the demo play. We have ‘multiple types of color vision options’ for players with different color vision, not just one pattern. In addition to that, there is also a brightness adjustment for effects, and an overall brightness adjustment, and with those, there is quite a range of adjustment…These color vision options are a rare part of the fighting game genre, but they are still being researched and we intend to expand on them in the future.”

Tekken 8 director Katsuhiro Harada on Dec. 28

A non-exhaustive list of accessibility for the visually impaired in video games

👂 Street Fighter 6 has a range of audio cues to convey attack hits, health depletion, distance from opponent, and more, to visually impaired players. But it lacks one major tool to help blind players start a fight at all—there is no menu narration in the game.

🎨 King of Fighters 15 allows users to tinker with contrast levels to make the player characters stand out more from the background.

👀 The Last of Us 2 has been praised for its inclusivity, aiding blind players with text-to-speech support, ledge detection, high-contrast mode, a pinging audio system to help navigation, and more. The game “is a testament to what can be achieved when accessibility is considered from the ground up and is extremely close to being flawless,” one reviewer wrote.

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