Video games are visual. Nobody will contradict this statement. But does this mean that video games will forever remain inaccessible to the blind and visually impaired? A development studio tries to prevent that.
The concept is ingenious, and according to testers, the implementation is even better. The Vale: Shadow of the Crown tries what was previously thought to be almost impossible.
THE IDEA OF THE VALE
The Vale: Shadow of the Crown is a video game designed to provide a special gaming experience for the blind and visually impaired. However, it is also easy for normal people without disabilities to play. The only group that will probably not benefit from the concept are people with a hearing impairment. However, in most cases, you can enjoy traditional video games with the help of subtitles.
The Vale is now a game that is primarily audio-based. This means that you will advance in the game not with visual cues, but with auditory cues. So you use what you hear to find your way through the game.
In fact, there are no visual cues at The Vale. You don’t even see the game. Instead, everything happens via three-dimensional sound, you hear what’s going on around you. People talking to you, the crashing waves out on the sea. The story unfolds around you without you even seeing it once.
This system was perfected through the collaboration of the developer of The Vale, Falling Squirrel, with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). Thus, almost endless specialist knowledge was brought into the development, which makes the game a unique experience for the blind and visually impaired.
In The Vale: Shadow of the Crown you dive into the role of a blind heir to the throne. After your older brother takes his place on the throne, some small lands on the edge of the kingdom come under your responsibility.
You hardly mind your exile and instead use it as your chance to experience a little adventure. But on the way to the border region, your caravan is ambushed. The enemy hordes attack the kingdom and make their way towards the capital.
You escape, but now you find yourself all alone in a hostile country. On your way back to your homeland, you will be offered help by a lonely shepherd. But that’s not all. On your journey, you will discover the truth about your country, your people and even your own family.