By John Walker on February 8th, 2011 at 11:41 am.
A patch will soon be arriving for Dead Space 2 to make it more accessible to disabled players. It’s perhaps not something most of us think about, but for a number of players it’s essential that they be able to freely map controls if they’re going to be able to play. And Dead Space 2 currently doesn’t allow you to set moving forward to the mouse. This meant that gareth170 on the Overclockers forum couldn’t play the game. And of course he’s not the only one – his post, linked with an ongoing campaign by quadriplegic comic Chuck Bittner, and has seen a huge response of support for the matter, and ultimately the announcement from Visceral that they’ll be patching the game accordingly.
It’s one of those matters that seems ridiculous to be an issue in the first place. It’s always mystifying when developers don’t allow complete freedom of binding keys in their games, as if we’d somehow become dizzy with power were we able to choose exactly the settings we’d prefer. In fact, I shouted in frustration at Dead Space 2 myself when I discovered it was ignorant of buttons 4 and 5 on my mouse. Apparently Visceral’s office mice were all made in 1998.
This is the point that Bittner has been making for a while now, observing that this benefits all players of all physical abilities. It’s clearly a larger concern on consoles, where games so frequently come with only a couple of ridiculous pre-set configurations for no fathomable reason. But it obviously affects PC players too, especially as everyone likely has their own quirks and preferences for the multitude of controls at our disposal.
Gareth Garratt’s post brought the subject into the headlines, when he discovered that he’d not be able to enjoy Dead Space 2 because it, for whatever reason, did not allow the mapping of ‘forward’ to the mouse. And since Gareth controls games with his chin, this was kind of essential. In case the idea of controlling a first person shooter with just your jaw is hard to imagine, here he is playing Fallout: New Vegas:
And here’s Bittner playing Gran Turismo 5 with full custom remapping on the controller, and showing why you should never use music with a man talking as your backing track to a narrated video.
So the good news is, after Gareth’s post leading lots more people to the ongoing petition of Bittner’s, Visceral Australia (they behind the PC port) have reported they’ll be adding in the option to remap controls onto the mouse in a forthcoming patch.
Hopefully the patch will also stop corpses from getting stuck on my legs, make the save machines activate on the first time I click on them, and occasionally let the time slowing thing actually fire when I press the button.