Reward System Balance
Most accessibility issues can be solved with simple accessibility options. However, there is some concern amongst the community that lowering the challenge of the game hurts the gameplay of other users by default.
This fear can be mitigated by implementing reward-based systems. If an option or set of options removes much of the challenge that the game developer intended, you can present the gamer with a dialog stating that certain achievements will not be available. This allows for gamers in the disabled community to enjoy the game without enabling those who do not actually need the options to take advantage of the system. Another way to implement a balanced reward system is to look at how this was handled in the Rock Band Games from Harmonix. They have achievements at all levels, like “Hometown Throwdown,” that just means you finished a set but does not care if you did it on easy or expert.
At the AbleGamers Foundation, we talk to developers all the time. We have often heard that “no one would want to play the game with X” where X is either one button, infinite life, infinite abilities, infinite power, infinite money etc. The truth of the matter is for most disabled gamers, they simply want to be able to play the game the best that they can. They don’t particularly care about achievements, they don’t care about leaderboards or being able to run around and say they’re the best of the best. They simply want to play the game.