Street Fighter has been a staple in the gaming industry for over three decades, with each entry in the series adding new mechanics, characters, and strategies for players to master. However, accessibility has not always been a primary focus. In the past, players with physical disabilities faced significant barriers in competing at a high level due to the complexity of control schemes and lack of in-game options. But with the release of Street Fighter 6, the development team at Capcom has made significant strides in providing accessibility options for all players.
One significant addition to Street Fighter 6 is the option for “Modern controls,” a simplified control scheme designed for players with disabilities. Modern controls reduce the number of button inputs required to perform special moves, making it easier for players with mobility impairments to compete at a high level. But Modern controls are not only for players with disabilities – they can also benefit new players who are just starting their journey into the world of fighting games.
Capcom has also included another option called “Dynamic controls,” which automatically performs special and standard moves, as well as moves characters toward their opponents with the push of a single button. While this scheme is only available for single arcade fights and local versus, it allows younger children and people new to fighting games to have a good match. Unfortunately, physically disabled players cannot use it to compete with others online, or use it within World Tour, but it does provide another alternative to Classic, albeit in a limited capacity.
Accessibility in Street Fighter 6 goes beyond control schemes for physically disabled players. For blind/low-vision competitors, the new entry comes equipped with a plethora of options and features that provide aural indicators for every aspect of a fight. From settings that regulate volume for mechanics like Hit Sounds and Drive Gauge, every aspect of the fight can be learned through sound alone. This feature was developed with input from the blind/low-vision community, and with the help of ePARA, an organization that seeks to assist disabled individuals in esports, the new audio accessibility features went through several iterations before the game’s release.
Capcom’s commitment to accessibility is indicative of an overall shift within the fighting game community. Prior to the release of Street Fighter 6, Capcom announced the inclusion of Modern controls within the Capcom Pro Tour, the official league for Street Fighter. Not only does this allow people to consistently practice with Modern controls, but it also provides a more explicit invitation to disabled players. This announcement directly relates to Nakayama’s philosophy of opening the series to newcomers.
“Our intention was to allow more people to be able to play Street Fighter 6,” says Nakayama, the game’s director. “For Modern controls specifically, we wanted the game to be accessible when playing with the controller that comes with the game console. As a developer, I believe that Modern should be considered one of the standard control types. We also wanted to see how new players would perform and see experienced veterans using Classic controls to face off against young players.”
In conclusion, Capcom has made significant strides in providing accessibility options for all players in Street Fighter 6. By including Modern and Dynamic controls and aural indicators for blind/low-vision players, the game’s development team has shown a commitment to making the series more inclusive. This commitment is indicative of an overall shift within the fighting game community toward greater accessibility, providing more opportunities for disabled players to compete at a high level.