The Overwatch team is looking to help deaf players by adding subtitles in the game

By Kurtis Chan on Apr 27, 2017

The Overwatch team has been considerate to disabled players but it does not cover everyone that falls in that category. Since the beginning of the game, Overwatch has a color blind option for players with visual disability to toggle with, but the hearing impaired players did not receive such love and support from Blizzard until the recent Uprising game mode, and it is the only game mode that allows players a choice to toggle the subtitles on or off. All of these is about to get much better as the Overwatch team is keen on adding subtitles to all of the available game modes.

Even though Overwatch has an in-game text chat as well as the communication wheel, voice lines, in-game interactions between different characters, and when "It's High Noon", the hearing impaired players will not know anything about it since they can't hear it and there are no subtitles for them to read, which is very disadvantageous for them.

Overwatch player, ChaosProz has hearing disability and he started a thread that suggests adding subtitles to the game on July 2016. "I know some of you guys may think it is distracting but it brings a viable information, for instance, a character might say "There's a turret over there." Or "There's a teleport over there"... How would deaf people know? Maybe it would be nice to incorporate voice line subtitles into Chat window. I am not saying we should have "footsteps" notification, most of the deaf/hard of hearing community relies visual elements and notifications in the game," ChaosProz posted. He also mentioned that all of the Overwatch Animated Shorts does not contain any form of subtitles in it, which is questionable. "Speaking of subtitles, there aren't any subtitles or closed captioned for all Overwatch short animated films, why is this? If you look at Valve, not only they started captioned all their games in Half-Life, Team Fortress."

The thread has been inactive for six months until user, LaZzY decided to bump the thread so that the Overwatch team will take note of it, and his efforts did not go in vain. Overwatch Game Director, Jeff Kaplan has finally spoken and shined a ray of hope for the hearing impaired players. "Uprising is the first event to support subtitles. We now have some of the underlying tech and systems in place to proliferate subtitle support to other parts of the game. The team is very passionate about adding subtitle support," Jeff Kaplan stated.

With subtitles added to the game, these players will be able to know what are the characters saying to each other in game or even knowing when Soldier:76 got them in his sights. Kaplan did not mention a ETA for the subtitle support, but at least we all know that it will be available imminently.


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Kurtis Chan
About the Author
Assistant Editor at Gamehubs who is an e-Sports enthusiast (mainly on League of Legends and Overwatch). Still saving up for a PS4.....
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