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When Spyro the Dragon and its sequels came out for the Playstation in the late 90s, they were a smash hit, and enchanted players with its wonderful colors and fun platforming gameplay. Now, after 20 years, Insomiac, Activision, and Toys for Bob have completely remastered the trilogy as: The Reignited Trilogy for the Playstation 4 and Xbox One.
The game is beautiful. All levels of all three games were overhauled with enhanced graphics for the next generation consoles. Tom Kenny recorded lines of dialogue for the first game, so now Spyro has the same voice for all three games, making them more continuous than the originals, which featured Tom Kenny as Spyro for only the later games. For everything they did, it would seem that on the surface that The Reignited Trilogy is a perfect remaster.
There's just one, rather big problem.
The Reignited Trilogy does not include subtitles. When the games were originally released, from 1998 to 2000, they did not include subtitles either, but it has been over 20 years and there is no reason to not include subtitles. Dialogue included in text boxes are captioned, but none of the cutscenes are subtitled, and there isn't even an option to turn on the subtitles.
Without subtitles, those who are deaf or hard of hearing no longer have the ability to enjoy the plot line, or any notations that aren't included in a quest or mission text box. Not even including an option to turn on subtitles is ableism, discrimination against those who are not able bodied. Video games are more than simple entertainment, they are an art form.
And even then, should an entire population of people be excluded from a form of entertainment entirely? Again, the entire game was heavily remastered, with new voice actors, a new engine, and in the case of Sheila and Elora, redesigned characters.
When responding to complaints, Activision responded with this: "While there’s no industry standard for subtitles, the studio and Activision care about the fans’ experience especially with respect to accessibility for people with different abilities, and will evaluate going forward.”
The response is unsatisfactory, and basically amounts to the corporate version of saying: "We'll only give you subtitles when it benefits us." Also, there is an industry standard, as most games being released this year have incredible accessibility features, Spider-Man for PS4 and Red Dead Redemption 2 among them.
The deaf and hard of hearing community aren't the only gamers who are affected by this. People with auditory processing issues, such as those that come with ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorder, may rely on captions while playing games to ensure that they don't miss details. Furthermore, for example, subtitles can be handy for those who are able bodied and neuro-typical, as it can sometimes be easy to miss important dialogue and details while playing, or in the middle of a boss fight.
Sadly, other games and other mediums have followed suit and contributed to this depressing trend. Netflix's Queer Eye has been criticized for non verbatim, incorrect subtitles, and in my own television viewing, on Netflix as well as cable, I have seen subtitles that are riddled with typos, as if it wasn't worth it to proofread. No medium should be excluding viewers, gamers, or any other type of entertainment consumer simply because they couldn't put proper subtitles in their work.,
The Crash Bandicoot remake also lacked subtitles upon its release, despite once again, having been overhauled to fit the new generation of consoles.
With 2019 just beginning, it is completely absurd that any medium would not include subtitles, and Activision and Toy's for Bob are one of many who need to step up and fix their content so that it is more accessible and can be enjoyed by all.