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Forza Horizon 5 breaks new ground with in-game sign language

The forthcoming Forza Horizon 5 will be the first major video game to incorporate a sign language interpreter for cut scenes; a major milestone for Microsoft’s ever-improving accessibility features.

Playground Games, which is in charge of the development, says there’ll be picture-in-picture American Sign Language and British Sign Language options available as part of a post-launch update.

Microsoft isn’t saying when the update will arrive, but this is a significant development for gamers with hearing disabilities and should inspire more developers to make this a standard feature for major games with the resources to achieve it.

The game arrives on November 9 on Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC and via Xbox Game Pass, so it may not be until the new year that the sign language feature is available.

“We’re constantly listening to the community to make Forza Horizon 5 an inclusive experience for everyone to enjoy,” said Creative Director Mike Brown in an Xbox Wire blog post.

“With this in mind, the team is excited to share we are also working on American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL) support for cinematics in Forza Horizon 5.”

It’s not the only accessibility feature coming to Forza 5, which is one of Microsoft’s first true flagship exclusives for the new-generation consoles.

There’s a Game Speed Modification feature for offline play, which is also aimed at newcomers. There are high contrast and colour blindness modes that make menus and text easier to distinguish and game elements easier to visualise.

If gamers wish to participate in voice chat then there are text-to-speech and speech-to-text options, while there’s also a “screen reader narrator that reads text, buttons, and other elements aloud.”

All moving backgrounds can be disabled during gameplay and players will be able to customise how long notifications remain on screen to give them more time to read them. There’s also plenty of customisation options for subtitles too.

You can get a full breakdown of the Forza 5 accessibility options in the video below.

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