Over the weekend, I managed to find time to play through the latest Hitman 3 content update. The new bonus mission reuses the game’s existing Dartmoor map changed up to host a lavish garden show. It’s complete with special horticultural showcases and grandiose assassination opportunities, as all garden shows go. However, there remains a major accessibility issue within the mission itself.
Basically, the mission is missing a lot of subtitles. I mean, a lot. If you take a look at my tweet below, which includes roughly 90 seconds of running through the mission, you’ll already notice about half a dozen lines that aren’t subtitled.
A MAJOR ACCESSIBILITY ISSUE
The recent Hitman games have had trouble with subtitles. Some lines are uncaptioned, most notably ones where you toss a coin to distract an NPC or bump into them to get them to yell at you. Considering how much information is communicated to you via speech, it’s a big oversight to not have this dialogue subtitled. Ideally, Hitman 3 would have all this speech included as captions.
Meanwhile, a lot of other dialogue involved with mission stories or scripted dialogue is subtitled. Hitman actually has a very generous text size slider, allowing you to adjust the size of captions to huge proportions. But in the new Dartmoor Garden Show, it appears that a lot of this dialogue is also not subtitled.
This presents a problem for deaf/hard-of-hearing players who wish to play this mission, who now miss out on an important part due to lack of subtitles. I’m not deaf myself, but even I find them useful for learning things about the map or timing my actions correctly. Simply put, this feature benefits everyone.
Accessibility-focused website Can I Play That? has an entire section on designing games for deaf/hard-of-hearing users, including how best to add subtitles to a game. Hitman 3 does a good job of including some of these, its lack of subtitles for specific dialogue presents a major problem.
We also reached out to IO Interactive for comment. Hopefully the problem can be resolved soon.
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Featured Image Credit: IO Interactive